Tinder Press is publishing a memoir of near-death experiences from Maggie O'Farrell, which she says will be "the only non-fiction book I will ever write", on 24th August 2017.
I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death will be told in a series of snapshots, each an individual essay springing from moments in O’Farrell’s life "when death has brushed past" her, to ultimately explain how proximity to death can make you embrace life.
Experiences covered in the book include months in hospital as a child, after contracting a rare illness; a teenage "moment of madness" by the sea; an encounter with a disturbed man on a mountainside; and a severe illness in rural China.
In the book, O'Farrell pushes the message, "an understanding of your fragility can push you to seize as much as you can from the years you are given". She also talks about what it is like to care for a child with a life-threatening medical condition, her daughter at constant risk of anaphylactic shock owing to an immunology disorder.
"At times," O’Farrell has said, "when my child’s life has been under threat, I have asked myself, how do you carry on, how do you forge ahead, when mortality feels so close, when death is a daily possibility in your house? I wanted to write this book to explain that life is possible, even in the face of danger, even within medical limitations, and to show my daughter that she is not alone."
She added: "I never thought I would write a memoir. It began as a private project, to explain something about survival to my daughter, for when she is older, but as I wrote, it somehow expanded into I am, I am, I am, which I am certain is the only non-fiction book I will ever write."
O'Farrell most recently published This Must Be the Place, a novel that was shortlisted for the 2016 Costa Novel Award and the Saltire Society Fiction Book of the Year. She won the Costa Novel Award in 2010 for The Hand That First Held Mine.