If anything could define me, I am a Londoner. Being the child of naturalised Brits I have always been mindful of place and identity. This was behind my choosing to study Social Anthropology and Demography, variously at Cambridge, the LSE and Oxford. I am proud of the rainbow that my family has become.
For a while it looked like I was going to be an academic. I worked in research in London, Brussels and at Sussex University. I moved to the US to take up two fellowships there, before returning to London to be with my future husband. For a brief spell I ran a small development charity, which I gave up after the birth of my first daughter. I took up writing, around the interstices of domestic life, my ever- since-I was- a-little-girl long term plan.
At school I wrote my first novel along with teenage poetry. Living in Brussels, where I took a crash course in fin du siecle living and European thought, I scrawled my first film script – the basis of my next novel, Trinity. Studying family formation and fertility, while living alongside the urban poor in Brazilian favela, I took notes for a narrative on my fieldwork experience. As I worked on my Brazilian research material at Harvard, I began to write what much later became Bathroom Stories and developed the ideas for a trilogy of dystopic cross-over novels. After the Brexit referendum, I tasked myself to use my skills to do something, imagining the worst, I wrote the post-Brexit thriller A Hard Fall.
I often think of the three jobs I was offered and did not take. After university, impelled by the desire to do good, I secured a place as a trainee Prisoner Governor – a Prison Officer interviewing me told me that I would have to marry the service. After Oxford I was offered two jobs as a research anthropologist in the Gambia and Uganda. I went to Uganda to check out the AIDS research project. It was apparent that I would have to live in fortress, drive a Suzuki 4*4 vehicle, jump out, step into the proverbial mud hut and ask people about their sexual habits. This was a far cry from the integration and being with people I had enjoyed when living in a favela in Brazil during my fieldwork.
I live within cycling distance of central London, north of the river, with my husband, two daughters, one feline and a constant stream of guests from all over the world bringing their stories and insights with them.
Photo credit: Annetta Eliades
Agent: Broo Doherty