Irish novelist Maggie O'Farrell danced with death — 17 times

The novelist's new memoir chronicles a series of harrowing close calls — like an encounter with a serial killer, a beachside robbery by a machete-wielding thief, and almost bleeding to death in childbirth.
Irish novelist Maggie O'Farrell talks about about her memoir, 'I am, I am, I am,' which chronicles a series of harrowing close calls. (Murdo Macleod; Knopf)
Listen32:05

The Irish novelist Maggie O'Farrell once said she was as likely to write a memoir as she was to become an acrobat.

But then she took a look at her journals, and a memoir began to emerge. It's no wonder. She'd kept notes about 17 brushes with death, beginning at the age of eight when she caught encephalitis.  

Then there was an encounter with a serial killer, and a machete-wielding thief on a beach in Chile. She almost drowned — twice. And came close to bleeding to death in childbirth.  

Maggie O'Farrell is the author of seven novels, including After You'd Gone, The Distance Between Us and This Must Be the Place. She has won many awards for her writing, including the 2010 Costa Novel Award. 

Click 'listen' above to hear her conversation with Michael Enright.