Award-winning author Emma Healey discusses inspiration behind Elizabeth Is Missing novel in Norfolk library visit

Elizabeth is Missing author Emma Healey finds out about the library services' reminiscence packs for

Elizabeth is Missing author Emma Healey finds out about the library services' reminiscence packs for people with dementia and talks to visitors to Poringland Library. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

Award-winning author Emma Healey discussed the inspiration behind her debut novel and fielded questions from the public when she appeared at a Norfolk library.

The Norwich-based writer's novel Elizabeth Is Missing won the Costa First Novel award in 2014 and has become a regular on bestseller lists.

Judges described the book as 'not only... gripping, but it shows incredible flair and unusual skill'.

The novel follows octogenarian Maud's quest to find out what happened to her friend Elizabeth, a mystery made all the more difficult because she has dementia.

The book has received praise for its portrayal of a protagonist coping with dementia, and Miss Healey paid a visit to Poringland library yesterday to discuss her inspiration for the novel and to answer audience questions.

The novel was inspired by Miss Healey seeing her grandmother Nancy live with dementia. The University of East Anglia graduate previously said: 'When I began to write Elizabeth Is Missing there wasn't so much fiction about dementia and I was looking for a way to explore the subject in a meaningful manner.

'To be honest, I wasn't really thinking of other readers at that moment, it was a selfish beginning. I just wanted better ways to guess what my grandmother, Nancy, and several other members of my family were going through, how they might feel, what they might be thinking, why they said and did the things they did.'

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The novel is being turned into a three-part television series.

At yesterday's event, there was also information available for people living with dementia and their carers.

All 47 Norfolk County Council libraries have 'reminiscence packs', comprising items designed to trigger memories, available for loan.

For more information on local support and advice for people with dementia and their carers, visit

Are you a local author who has secured a book deal? Call our arts correspondent Emma Knights on 01603 772428 or email

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