Deborah Moggach

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Deborah Moggach
Deborah Moggach.jpg
Born Deborah Hough
(1948-06-28) 28 June 1948 (age 68)
Occupation Novelist, Screenwriter
Genre Contemporary, Historical

Deborah Moggach (born Deborah Hough; 28 June 1948) is an English writer. She has written eighteen novels including The Ex-Wives, Tulip Fever, 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 Johns Wood in London,[1] and was educated at Camden School for Girls and Queen's College, London. She graduated from the University of Bristol in 1971 with a degree in English and trained as a teacher before going to work at the Oxford University Press. She lived in Pakistan for two years in the mid 1970s and in the United States.


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 latest novel, Something To Hide, is set in Beijing, Texas, London and West Africa. The Indian subcontinent, too, has featured frequently in her work.


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.

Other work[edit]

Her other work includes a great deal of journalism, a stage play and two collections of short stories.


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.

Personal life[edit]

At Oxford University Press she met her husband Tony, from whom she is now divorced. For ten years, her partner was the cartoonist Mel Calman.[2] After his death in 1994, she lived for seven years with Hungarian painter Csaba Pasztor. She currently lives in the Welsh border town of Presteigne with the husband she married in 2014, Mark Williams, a journalist, editor and magazine publisher. They also have a maisonette in Kentish Town, north London.

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.[3] Moggach is a patron of Dignity in Dying and campaigns for a change in the law on assisted suicide.[4]



  • You Must Be Sisters (1978)
  • Close to Home (1979)
  • A Quiet Drink (1980)
  • Hot Water Man (1982)
  • Porky (1983)
  • To Have and to Hold (1986)
  • Driving in the Dark (1988)
  • Stolen (1990)
  • The Stand-In (1991)
  • The Ex-Wives (1993)
  • Seesaw (1996)
  • Close Relations (1997)
  • Tulip Fever (1999)
  • Final Demand (2001)
  • These Foolish Things (2004) (was adapted into the movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel)
    • Also available as a "movie tie-in" book, with the same title as the movie.
  • In the Dark (2007)
  • Heartbreak Hotel (2013)
  • Something to Hide (2015)

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


External links[edit]