Given her assured performance as chief protagonist Jo March in PBS’ adaptation of Louise May Alcott’s Little Women, it’s somewhat surprising that it is Maya Hawke’s on-screen debut.

Hawke stars in the three-parter, adapted by Call the Midwife’s Heidi Thomas, alongside Angela Lansbury, Michael Gambon and Dylan Baker. At Deadline’s recent The Contenders Emmys event, she said it was an “unbelievably fun” experience.

The Contenders Emmys 2018

“I had a remarkable time and made some of the best friends of my life; I got to live on the Irish coast and stay in a weird, cool, jangy hotel and got to speak beautiful words every single day,” she said.

The actress, who has just booked a role on Netflix’s Stranger Things, added that she was big fan of the book and that the character of March was “beloved” to her.

“She really inspired me as a young woman to have a hunger for knowledge,” she said on the panel that included the series’ senior producer Susanne Simpson. “I’d struggled in school as a kid and there was something about how driven she was, even when there was societal obstacles to overcome; she wasn’t allowed to go to college, she wasn’t supposed to write, it was considered brain work, which was not for women and she did anyway, and it inspired me.”

Check out the conversation above.