OBE for Presteigne's 'Best Exotic' writer Deborah Moggach

Reporter:

Keri Trigg

A BAFTA-nominated screenwriter and author has spoken of her delight at being recognised in the New Year’s Honours.

Deborah Moggach, who lives in Presteigne, has been awarded an OBE for services to literature and drama in recognition of a 40-year career that has brought her international acclaim.

She is perhaps best known for penning ‘These Foolish Things’ – later adapted on screen into the Golden-globe and BAFTA-nominated film ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ – and other works like ‘Tulip Fever’ and ‘The Ex-Wives’.

Ms Moggach, 69, found out in December that she had made the honours list and said it came as a wonderful surprise.

“I was absolutely staggered and terribly pleased,” she said.

“It was a huge surprise, but It also felt like recognition of the work I have done for so many years.

“It is magical to make up stories that didn’t exist before and share them with so many people.”

After first finding success as an author, Ms Moggach turned her hand to screenwriting and was nominated for a BAFTA in 2006 for her screenplay adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, starring Keira Knightley, as well as several BBC and ITV dramas.

She co-wrote the screenplay for the adaptation of ‘Tulip Fever’, but the film is currently shelved due to the recent scandal surrounding its producer.

“Tulip Fever is both a high and a low for me,” said Ms Moggach.

“It has a very checkered history. It is supposed to be out now in cinemas, but it isn’t because of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

“When I wrote it 20 years ago it was bought by Steven Spielberg and was supposed to be turned into a huge film. But it collapsed because of government funding, and then Harvey Weinstein came and rescued it 10 years ago and it was filmed.”

Another career highlight for Ms Moggach was writing the book that would become ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’.

“Best Exotic was so successful and such a hit,” she said.

“It made people who were getting on a bit feel cheerful and hopeful and up for a new chapter in their lives.”

As well as writing, Ms Moggach is a former chair of the Society of Authors and has served on the executive committee of PEN, an organisation that promotes free speech in literature, and has worked to fight for press freedom.

She said: “I have been in a lot of roles in the writing world as well as sitting at home writing!”

Ms Moggach, who moved to Presteigne, her husband’s hometown, in 2014, added that her friends and family have been hugely supportive since finding out about her OBE.

“They have all said it’s great and they are jolly pleased about it,” she said. “They will all have to curtsey and bow for me now!”

Email:

keri.trigg@nwn.co.uk

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