Agent: Tom Drake-Lee
Rachel Meller grew up in London, the middle daughter of refugees who escaped Nazi-run Austria.
After studying neurobiology at Sussex University, Rachel moved to Cambridge to take up a Ph.D. on hormones and behaviour. Then her lifelong love of writing – first evidenced at age six, with a tiny hand-written and illustrated book entitled ‘My Family’ – led her to joining a Cambridge-based communication consultancy. After many years’ creating content for business clients, Rachel felt compelled to carry on writing about her family. This time she focused on the story of her Viennese-born aunt, who survived World War II by escaping to Shanghai.
Immersing herself in a completely new field of research, Rachel completed The Box with the Sunflower Clasp. In this, her first book of narrative nonfiction, she explores how loss of homeland, a parent, or a child, can influence one’s later character.
Her own nature being generally optimistic, Rachel’s newest passion is learning Russian Ballet. Starting this from a base of absolute zero, and with no sense of direction, highlights Rachel’s ability to laugh at herself. When not at the barre, she enjoys reading French literature (not of much use when playing with her two young half-French granddaughters), and collecting and selling friends’ jewellery at London’s Goldsmith’s Fair. If she and her neuroscientist husband of over 40 years can reach agreement on what to watch, she also enjoys escaping into film or drama on TV or at the cinema. She is delighted the Austrian government has now made it possible for her to receive Austrian citizenship.