The king and queen of popular fiction: Marian Keyes and Richard Osman on their successes and struggles

The bestselling novelists are friends and fans of each other’s work. They talk frankly about the highs of writing and the lows of addiction – and why neither of them would do Strictly

“So, how does it feel to be a publishing phenomenon?” the Irish writer Marian Keyes asks TV producer-presenter and now fellow novelist Richard Osman, over Diet Cokes and chocolate croissants. “A record-breaker of record-breakers?”

For once, publishing “phenomenon” (pronounced as four words by Keyes for emphasis) is no exaggeration: Osman’s first novel The Thursday Murder Club sold 45,000 copies in three days in 2020 and his follow-up, The Man Who Died Twice (released in paperback this month), was one of the fastest-selling novels since records began. Stats-wise he is up there with Dan Brown and JK Rowling: as Keyes points out, the sort of “event” that only happens every 15 or 20 years.

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