Agnès Martin-Lugand is a French writer, born in Saint-Malo in 1979. She is a qualified clinical psychologist with a degree from the University of Paris XIII, awarded in 2004. After completing a placement in a residential mother and baby unit, she specialised in parenting and early childhood and worked for six years as a psychologist in nurseries and children’s centres in Paris, Rouen and Le Havre. She is married and has two children.
Agnès began writing in 2010. Her first novel, Happy People Read and Drink Coffee, became available on Kindle on the Amazon website on 27 December 2012, and within three weeks had been purchased and downloaded by three thousand readers. As sales continued to climb, eventually reaching a total of 10,000 copies sold, Agnès was approached by Editions Michel Lafon, who published Happy People Read and Drink Coffee in 2013. The book was an immediate success both in France and worldwide. A favourite among readers, book bloggers and critics alike, Happy People Read and Drink Coffee has been translated into more than thirty languages.
This early success marked the beginning of an on-going publishing sensation. Every spring sees the publication of a new novel from Agnès, each one captivating hundreds of thousands of readers: Happiness at my Fingertips was published in 2014, Don’t Worry, Life is Easy (a sequel to Happy People) in 2015, Some Other Time Perhaps in 2016, I Can’t Get that Tune out of my Head in 2017, In the Light of Provence My Heart Beats Again in 2018, A Foregone Conclusion in 2019, and her latest novel, To Have and To Hold in May 2020. According to Le Figaro – GFK, almost 600,000 copies of her books were sold in 2019, and since 2013, a total of more than three and a half million have been sold in France and abroad. Agnès was listed in the top ten of L’Express best-selling authors for the third time in 2020, alongside such names as Amélie Nothomb, Sylvain Tesson, Karine Tuil and Michel Houellebecq. Her books have been published in more than fifty countries worldwide.
In 2019 Happy People Read and Drink Coffee was adapted as a graphic novel with artwork by Cécile Bidault and words by Véronique Grisseaux. Published by Éditions Michel Lafon, the book was acclaimed by critics and readers alike. Agnès was closely involved in the project, collaborating with the illustrators on details of the settings and the characters’ physical features, and with the writers on the development of the script and the story line. The result was an innovative version of the novel that remains faithful to the original.
Agnès is by nature reserved, but her books are stamped with her distinctive style. Her characters are vibrant, well-rounded and constantly evolving. The picture she paints of everyday life is vivid and realistic. Each novel is set in a different world – business, architecture, couture, art – in a variety of geographical settings, from Ireland to Paris, Provence and Brittany. Her stories are meticulously plotted and full of insights into human nature, of which she is a skilled observer and analyst. The strength of her writing is to be found between the lines of her understated, deceptively simple prose, and it is this that resonates in the hearts and minds of her readers. A caress, a look, a whisper or a murmur can often speak much louder than words. Agnès reveals the inner workings of the soul through the language of the body and of the senses. Music too plays an important part and is ever present in all of her work. Agnès is skilled in the art of expressing the power of feelings without the need for description or explanation.
Agnès writes of life-changing moments, those turning points that reveal our capacity to build and rebuild, to reinvent ourselves. With each novel, she addresses a different social issue alongside universal themes: grief and loss (Happy People Read and Drink Coffee), putting a life back together (Don’t Worry, Life is Easy), fulfilment and life choices (Happiness at my Fingertips), addiction to work (Some Other Time Perhaps), ambition (I Can’t Get that Tune out of my Head), adultery (In the Light of Provence My Heart Beats Again), family secrets (A Foregone Conclusion).
Since 2017 Agnès has been a contributing author to Treize à table, an anthology published by Pocket in aid of the charity Les Restos du Coeur, together with such authors as Douglas Kennedy, Yann Queffélec, Leïla Slimani and others. Her stories include “Thank You, Miss”, “It’s a Small World”, “The Housewarming Party” and “A Journey Back in Time”. She also contributed in 2018 to the collection Love Is…, with illustrations by Jack Koch and introduction by Baptiste Beaulieu, with part of the proceeds being donated to the charity Rire Médecin.
Agnès was patron of the Fête du Livre in Saint-Etienne in 2016, a member of the jury for the Régine-Deforges literary prize in 2018 and 2019, and president of the jury for the Au Féminin.com. literary prize.
I feed on the enthusiasm with which you welcome each of my novels. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them.