I was born in England, grew up in the countryside and divided my teenage years between my mother and my stepfather's home in Nigeria, a remote English village and boarding school. My father died when I was fourteen. I survived an eventful teenage thanks to good friends and a great 'second family'. I studied languages at Oxford University, travelled in Europe and worked in London, as editor, freelance journalist, script assessor and film critic. I emigrated to Australia in 1973, and came to live in South Australia in 1981. For the last three years I've been living in Goolwa on the Murray Mouth.
My main ambitions as a child were to be a writer, speak lots of languages, learn to ride properly and have a happy family, and I've achieved all of these to a certain extent. To read more about my childhood, read my Childhood Memories.
My husband's name is Philip; we have three children, Matthew, Tessa and Susannah. Matt lives in Sydney and is a writer. Tessa is a musician/filmmaker and Susannah is a graphic designer, and they both live in Melbourne.
British-Australian, with French, Spanish, Canadian, African and Japanese connections.
Traditions and Influences:
Myths and legends of Greece, Rome, Scandinavia and Britain. Hans Christian Andersen, Rudyard Kipling, Robert Louis Stevenson. Alan Garner and Diana Wynne Jones. 50s and 60s speculative fiction, Philip K Dick, Kurt Vonnegut, Ray Bradbury.
Genres and Themes:
Children's fiction, teenage fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy, imaginary worlds, real and invented languages, animal-human relationships, the effects of technology, the problem of human violence, the history of childhood, mixing the mythic with the mundane.