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exclusive Cecelia Ahern interview: ‘All I wanted to do was write… and be treated like every other author’

As she prepares to publish her 18th novel, the Dublin writer opens up about the ‘overwhelming’ early days of her success, not being taken seriously as an author and why, as she turns 40, she’s started soul-searching

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Cecelia Ahern. Photograph: Hannah Cosgrove

Cecelia Ahern. Photograph: Hannah Cosgrove

Cecelia Ahern. Photograph: Hannah Cosgrove

Cecelia Ahern. Photograph: Hannah Cosgrove

Cecelia Ahern. Photograph: Hannah Cosgrove

Cecelia Ahern. Photograph: Hannah Cosgrove

Cecelia Ahern. Photograph: Hannah Cosgrove

Cecelia Ahern. Photograph: Hannah Cosgrove

Cecelia Ahern. Photograph: Hannah Cosgrove

Cecelia Ahern. Photograph: Hannah Cosgrove

Cecelia Ahern. Photograph: Hannah Cosgrove

Cecelia Ahern. Photograph: Hannah Cosgrove

Cecelia Ahern. Photograph: Hannah Cosgrove

Cecelia Ahern. Photograph: Hannah Cosgrove

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Cecelia Ahern. Photograph: Hannah Cosgrove

Next month, to mark her 40th birthday, Cecelia Ahern plans to walk up Croagh Patrick with her friends. “I’m just going to walk up this mountain of life with my girlfriends,” she says. “It’ll be like I’m walking into a feeling.” Asked how she feels about approaching this milestone birthday, she says: “Hmm. It’s interesting. All I want is to be healthy, fit and happy. I obviously want everyone else in my life to be too, but I’m keeping an eye on myself.”

Although she has been a literary mainstay for decades, Ahern turning 40 still comes as something of a surprise. She has long been tagged as a literary wunderkind, the prodigious talent who wrote her debut novel, PS, I Love You, at 21. After selling the title in 23 countries, including a $1m deal with Hyperion in the US, Ahern became a New York Times bestseller before hitting what she once called her “quarter-life crisis”.


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