Spotlight On Writers - Maggie O'Brien at

Spotlight On Writers – Maggie O’Brien

Spotlight On Writers

Maggie O’Brien



  1. Where, do you hail from?

Born & raised in the historical sea-faring city of Bristol in the South-West of England to an English mum & Irish dad, I was nurtured in a humble but loving working-class family which included my grandparents sharing our small house. My formative pre-school years with them were astonishing. They encouraged my curiosity and love of learning.

I took my grandad’s advice to heart “Play the game, my Queen. Get an education; your passport to freedom.” At 23 years of age, long before mass tourism & mobile phones, I threw a bag on my back & by hook or by crook, visited 10 countries on a trek lasting 4-years from the Polar Circle to Tibet. Once back in Bristol, I began my teaching career.

One day, my partner spread out a map of Ireland on the kitchen table. Blindfolded and brandishing a pin, I landed a stone’s throw from the ancient druidic centre. Here we still are, 27 years later.

  1. What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?

Pleased to say nothing exciting happens here (in the accepted sense of that word.) Imagine an old cottage on a fairy-path surrounded by 3 acres of playground with clean air under unpolluted skies. Tranquillity and silence are broken only by dusk and dawn chorus, my partner and friends making music and frequent sounds of the native wildlife with whom we share the space. A close neighbour is an alien concept, but some 3 miles away, a small town, populated by down-to-earth folk, provides our basic needs. Thank heavens political correctness has still not yet arrived. A sense of humour thrives. Cannot say which of these things ranks as the greatest. You choose!

  1. What turns you on creatively?

Poetry-Full gambit of emotions evoked by anything that moves me; music, events, reflection, insights, nature, people, and even outrage. Painting- Glimpses. Extraordinary natural patterns like a tangle of winter thorn and hedgerow twigs in our lane silhouetted by the setting sun.

  1. What is your favorite word, and can you use it in a poetic sentence?

My favourite word? This is a lot like asking a Dutch tulip grower to select his favourite tulip. If you’ll excuse the pun- ‘I’ll pick one.’


“Towering Scandinavian pines laden with dazzling snow, bowed their heads as if to welcome us as heralds of Spring.”

  1. What is your pet peeve?


  1. What defines Maggie O’Brien?

I wish I could come up with some catchy fridge magnet truism or decide on a neat poetic line that defines me. I can’t.

A nod to a true, colourful ‘character’ will have to suffice. ‘Enter Will Kempe’- a failing Shakespearean actor who, in 1599, Morris-danced some 100 miles from London to Norwich allegedly after a disagreement…

My dance didn’t begin in Norwich or end in London, & I passed the 100-mile mark years ago but, hey? On the way, I’ve learnt a few things. I share as many as I can whenever & however I can. I’m still jigging.

Ask me why Kempe really did it? ‘Because he could.’

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This publication is part 353 of 370 in the series Spotlight On Writers