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My Lockdown Life – Felicity McLean

29th June, 2020

We asked some of our authors what they’ve been up to during lockdown these last few months. Here, Felicity McLean, author of The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone, answers our questions about the books, film, TV and hobbies that have kept her busy. 



1. Where have you spent lockdown?

At home in Sydney, Australia.


2. Books. What books have you been reading? Has lockdown affected your choices? Fiction or non-fiction? Or have you gone back to your comfort reads? 

Girl, Woman, Other (Bernardine Evaristo), We Should All be Feminists (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie), Sorrow and Bliss (Meg Mason), and for a much-needed dose of optimism and wonder: Phosphorescence (Julia Baird).


3. TV – Has there been anything on TV that you have particularly enjoyed? This could be an individual programme, a box set or something you’ve been rewatching?

Sally Rooney’s Normal People. I adored the book – I adore everything Sally Rooney writes – so binge-watching Marianne and Connell was a cultural highlight of life in lockdown. It was classic Rooney, but with added necklace.

4. Are there any films that you have been watching, or rewatching?

I’ve been watching and re-watching a short film called Lost & Found. It’s seven minutes of heart-breaking, life-affirming goodness about a crochet dinosaur saving the love of its life.

5. Are there things that you’ve discovered that have given you pleasure during lockdown? Many people seem to have taken up breadmaking for instance. What was it for you?

I spent much of lockdown helping my kids (6 and 8) with their home schooling. So, while I didn’t discover a latent talent for making sourdough, I did construct a Gruffalo house using pick-up sticks and pipe cleaners. An important life skill, you’ll agree.


6. Do you have a local bookshop? Have you been using them during lockdown?

Yes and yes. My local bookshop is called The Best Little Bookshop in Town and – like so many other wonderful indie bookstores around the world – they’ve been making home deliveries during lockdown. In fact, the lovely folk from The Best Little Bookshop have been catching the local ferry across to isolated communities nearby to keep readers stocked up with books. This is a bookstore that does what it says on the tin.  

7. And finally – do you think there are positives we can all take away from this experience?

I wonder if, in a funny way, social distancing might have bought us all closer together. That, and taught us to build Gruffalo houses.


The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone is out now in paperback. Find out more here


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