Deborah Moggach

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Deborah Moggach

Moggach in 2009
Moggach in 2009
BornDeborah Hough
(1948-06-28) 28 June 1948 (age 75)
Middlesex, England[1]
OccupationNovelist, screenwriter
GenreContemporary, historical

Deborah Moggach OBE FRSL (née Hough; born 28 June 1948) is an English novelist and screenwriter. She has written nineteen novels, including The Ex-Wives, Tulip Fever (made into the film of the same name), These Foolish Things (made into the film The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) and Heartbreak Hotel.

Early life and career[edit]

Moggach is one of four daughters of writers Charlotte Hough (née Woodyadd) and Richard Hough. Moggach was brought up in Bushey, Hertfordshire and St John's Wood in London, and was educated at Camden School for Girls and Queen's College, London.[citation needed]

She graduated from the University of Bristol in 1971 with a degree in English and trained as a teacher before going to work at Oxford University Press. She lived in Pakistan for two years in the mid-1970s and in the United States.

Novels and other writings[edit]

Most of her novels are contemporary, tackling family life, divorce, children and the confusions and disappointments of relationships. She has an ear for comedy but has also written a dark thriller set in America, The Stand-In; a bleak story of incest set near London Heathrow Airport, Porky; and a novel pitting Muslim versus English family values, Stolen.

Her two historical novels are Tulip Fever, set in Vermeer’s Amsterdam, and In The Dark, set in a boarding house during the First World War. Her novel, Something To Hide (2015), is set in Texas, London, Beijing, and West Africa. The Indian subcontinent has featured frequently in her work. Her other work includes a stage play and two collections of short stories.

She has adapted many of her novels as TV dramas and has also written acclaimed adaptations of other people's work, among them Nancy Mitford's Love in a Cold Climate, for instance, and The Diary of Anne Frank. Her script of the film Pride and Prejudice, starring Keira Knightley, was nominated for a BAFTA award, and Goggle-Eyes, from Anne Fine's novel, won a Writers Guild Award. These Foolish Things, her comic novel about elderly people moving to India to obtain affordable care, was made into the successful film The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Tulip Fever has also been made into a film.


In 2005 she was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Bristol; she is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a former Chair of the Society of Authors and was on the executive committee of PEN. She was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2018 New Year Honours for services to literature.[2]

Personal life[edit]

At Oxford University Press she met the man who became her first husband, Tony Moggach; the couple later divorced. He died in November 2015.

For ten years, her partner was the cartoonist Mel Calman.[3]

After his death in 1994, she lived for seven years with Hungarian painter Csaba Pásztor.

She lived in the Welsh border town of Presteigne with her husband since 2014, Mark Williams, a journalist, editor and magazine publisher. They also had a maisonette in Kentish Town, north London. She has been single for three years as of 2024. [4]

She has two adult children: Tom, a teacher, and Lottie, a journalist and novelist. In 1985, her mother was sent to prison for helping a terminally ill friend kill herself.[5] Moggach is a patron of Dignity in Dying and campaigns for a change in the law on assisted suicide.[6]



Short story collections[edit]

  • Smile and Other Stories (1987)
  • Changing Babies and Other Stories (1995)



  • To Have and to Hold (mini-series) (1986)
  • Goggle Eyes (adaptation of an Anne Fine novel) (1993) (Won a Writers' Guild Award for Best Adapted TV Serial)
  • Seesaw (adaptation of her own novel) (1998)
  • Close Relations (adaptation of her own novel) (1999)
  • Love in a Cold Climate (adaptation of two Nancy Mitford novels) (2001)
  • Final Demand (adaptation of her own novel) (2003)
  • The Diary of Anne Frank (2009)
  • Stolen (adapted from her own novel) (1991)

Stage play[edit]

  • Double-Take
  • The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel based on her novel These Foolish Things


  1. ^ "Deborah Moggach". British Council.
  2. ^ "New Year's Honours list 2018" (PDF).
  3. ^ "Comic creator: Mel Calman". Archived from the original on 30 July 2005. Retrieved 11 October 2005.
  4. ^ Moggach, Deborah (23 February 2024). "What is there to lose? Why I said yes to a blind date at 75". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 February 2024.
  5. ^ Durrant, Sabine (24 January 2009). "I was grateful to her for dying". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  6. ^ "Patrons - Dignity in Dying". Dignity in Dying. Retrieved 5 June 2015.

External links[edit]