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  • Writer's pictureMaya Linnell

Hoarding, award shortlistings and stroke awareness with Emily Maguire

I raced through the pages of this gritty, darkly funny and immersive story. Love Objects was a fascinating insight into two vastly different subjects - hoarding and sexting. Maguire thoughtfully explored both issues, plus tough family relationships, with strong writing, clear characterisation and blunt home truths.

Readers are drawn into the multiple viewpoints of Lena, her brother Will and their aunt Nic, who is nearly killed by her hoarding compulsion. I learned so much about the habits and logic behind hoarding, and it was easy to see the author had spent much time researching the subject. As the mother of tweens, the sexting sub-plot was also an eye-opener that kept me thinking long after I'd turned the last page. Full of family conflict, fractured relationships and flawed characters, this story examines the things people will do to fill the empty spaces in their lives.

Five fast minutes with Emily

Do you have a good luck charm or a special token that sits in your office?

Not good luck charms exactly, but my home office is beautifully cluttered with things that make me feel happy and at home: mementos from travels, cards and notes from loved ones and works of art created by friends and family.

Favourite exercise to counteract all the hours sitting at the keyboard?

Walking. Its good for the creative process as well as my poor old back.

What’s your go-to weekday dinner dish?

Shakshuka. The staples of eggs, tomatoes and spices are always on hand and I can chuck in any leftover vegetables and some herbs from the garden to add variety.

Which career would you choose if money wasn’t a factor and writing wasn’t an option?

Early childhood teacher

Favourite scent?

Fresh mint

Chocolate, potato chips or cheese?

Cheese. All of it.

Have you done anything special with any of your advances?

I think all of my advances have gone to pay overdue or looming bills, sadly. I did buy a flash (to me) pair of boots with the money I received for being shortlisted for the Stella Prize though!

Spot where you seem to get the best bursts of writing inspiration?

Out walking. Or on a long drive. Or at a party. Basically any time I’m doing something that makes it difficult or impossible to immediately write down the brilliance in my head.

Worst writing/book related injury?

No injuries, just endless aches and pains from slouching too long and typing too much.

Aussie novel you’re most looking forward to in 2021?

Alice Pung’s One Hundred Days. I’ve loved everything she’s every written and I know this new novel will be golden.

Best one-line sentence from one of your book reviews?

I have no idea!

Share a quirky habit or something readers might be surprised to discover about you.

People are often surprised to discover that I suffered from a stroke in my late twenties. I had trouble talking about it for years afterwards, but 15 years on I mention it when I can to help raise awareness that strokes can and do happen to young and otherwise healthy people.

Love Objects

Nic is a forty-five-year-old trivia buff, amateur nail artist and fairy godmother to the neighbourhood's stray cats. She's also the owner of a decade's worth of daily newspapers, enough clothes and shoes to fill Big W three times over and a pen collection which, if laid end-to-end, would probably circle her house twice.

The person she's closest to in the world is her beloved niece Lena, who she meets for lunch every Sunday. One day Nic fails to show up. When Lena travels to her aunt's house to see if Nic's all right, she gets the shock of her life, and sets in train a series of events that will prove cataclysmic for them both.

About the author

Emily Maguire is the author of six novels, including the Stella Prize and Miles Franklin Award-shortlisted An Isolated Incident, and three non-fiction books. Her articles and essays on sex, feminism, culture and literature have been published widely including in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, The Observer and The Age. Emily works as a teacher and as a mentor to young and emerging writers and was the 2018/2019 Writer-in-Residence at the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney.

Find Emily online




For your chance to win a copy of Emily's new novel Love Objects, simply read the interview and answer the questions on the WIN page. Entries open July 3. The winner will be drawn Sunday, July 11 at 5 pm. Newsletter subscribers and Aussie addresses only, please. Thanks to Allen & Unwin for the review and giveaway copies.


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