Deborah Moggach

Really good plots are like marvellous kitchen joinery. They are things of great beauty.

Deboah Moggach on writing

Writer Deborah Moggach is the queen of multi-tasking.

Deborah's latest novel is These foolish things (Vintage, £6.99), a black comedy about sending pensioners to retirement homes in India.

In all she's written 15 novels and also writes for both TV and film. You may have seen her version of Pride and Prejudice in cinemas recently.

She is a passionate gardener, loves wild places and has recently campaigned successfully to keep the Hampstead Heath swimming ponds in London open.

We caught up with her at home in Hampstead.

You've just returned from the Galapagos Islands to celebrate the 170th anniversary since Darwin arrived there. How was it for you?

It is such a symbolically important place. It is also threatened by a political nest of vipers from commercial long-line fishing to corruption.

But it was a great privilege to have sea lions and iguanas snorting at you and then to snorkel with manta rays, turtles and sharks.

Do you try to live a green life?

Like a lot of people I'm a mass of contradictions. I recycle, compost and have hens that eat my leftovers and garden slugs.

But I've got an old house that isn't really draft proofed and I never turn the TV off standby. I jump on planes, but I'm very good about cycling.

Are you optimistic or pessimistic about how politicians are tackling climate change?

All the political parties staggeringly underestimate people's concerns about the environment and their emotional involvement.

If they understood young people mind what they are doing to the planet they'd have an easier ride. It's one thing people care about, and it is scandalously low down on the list of political priorities.

The Department of the Environment leaves its lights on all night! Think of the amount of energy and money wasted.

Deborah Moggach on lights

Any tips on how to get a Climate Change Bill through Parliament?

Ask questions but not to seem superior and not obviously haranguing. If you are a writer you don't bully your characters. It's the same with environmental issues.

It's not as if supporting Friends of the Earth makes you a better person, because we're all in it together.

So should greens dare to be happy?

I think there is hope for the future as young people are politicised, architects keep designing energy efficient buildings and locally sourced products become normal.

It's my compromising philosophy: being good in as many ways as you can.

Find out more about Deborah and her books at

Find out more about the Charles Darwin Foundation