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Marisa Mackle: Hooked on words not Eurovision stars

A friend of mine used to worship Johnny Logan. She would cut out photos of him and hang around the gates of RTE whenever he was on the TV. She even got her mother to drive her out to Dublin airport once so that she could see him arriving home after his second Eurovision win.

Another friend camped outside Jury's hotel when she found out George Michael was staying there in his Wham! days. And a guy I met at an airport one time, told me he had sold his car to follow The Pogues on their world tour.

I never got it. I couldn't understand why people get excited about singers. My heroes were a different kind altogether. Most of them were, unfortunately, dead, so my chances of meeting them were slim. Nevertheless I still wondered about Enid Blyton and Agatha Christie. I was fascinated with their lives and I knew facts such as that the creator of Noddy had married twice and had two daughters.

If Roald Dahl had been staying in a Dublin hotel, would I have camped outside, waiting for a glimpse of my idol? Maybe not. But I do know that I have read and re-read every one of his novels.

As a teen I entered a short story competition in a magazine. The prize-winner was to have lunch with Patricia Scanlan. I remember thinking that it was an excellent prize because I had never met a real-life author before. I didn't win.

Then, in my 20s I finally met an author. It was when I was an air hostess and Maeve Binchy was on my flight. When the other air hostess told me who was sitting up the front I actually began to shake. I knew I had to go up and say something.

I was used to meeting famous people on flights but seeing somebody who wrote the type of books I'd brought to bed with me for years was amazing. It took me a while to muster up the courage to talk to her and, when I did, it was a bit of a disaster. I had approached from behind so I didn't realise the great author was asleep. I was mortified for waking her up. Nevertheless she was so nice and friendly.

Within the year I had met another author. My mother had purchased two tickets to listen to a talk given by Deirdre Purcell. Afterwards I went up to have a chat with her. She recommended a publisher to me and within weeks I had my own book deal.

Now, this Thursday, March 31, I will be joining the likes of Patricia Scanlan, Deirdre Purcell, Sheila O'Flanagan, Cecelia Ahern, Claudia Carroll and many more inspiring female novelists at Eason, O'Connell Street to celebrate women's writing. So come along.

Who knows? If you're a budding author you may get a few tips for your own writing career. Tickets are free and there's no need to queue overnight in a sleeping bag!

Call Eason on 01 858 3800 for your free ticket