I always thought I’d be a ‘writer’ when I grew up. Growing up took longer than I expected, with a few detours along the way, detours that perhaps taught me skills necessary to a writer’s vocation: stamina, discipline, stubbornness and the ability to pick oneself up and begin again, and again, and again.
Perhaps it all started when I was thirteen and I decided not to go to school. I taught myself and went on to obtain a B.A. in Classical Studies from the University of Bristol. After university, I travelled extensively and had variety of jobs and vocations including mime artist, Jeet Kune Do practitioner and website project manager for the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.
My first fiction publication was in 2008 (‘La Llorona’ in Versal 6) when I was 46. I had been attending Barbara Turner-Vesselago’s Freefall Writing retreats for some years and I can safely say I’m still writing because of Freefall. Essentially Freefall is an antidote to writer’s block. As Barbara says: “Freefall invokes the courage to fall without a parachute, into the words as they come, into the thoughts before they have fully formed in the mind, into the unplanned structures that take shape, without prompting, to contain them.”
Since 2008 I have had over forty short stories and flash fiction published in literary magazines and journals, as well as one national newspaper. Awards are listed here, and a full list of publications can be found here.
In 2010, I began work on my novel, Ten Virtuous Acts. This is a multi-perspective narrative set in Sri Lanka and Thailand during the early 80s, exploring a young woman’s attempt to find her moral compass in a world of cheap airfare and first-to-third-world tourism. Ten Virtuous Acts won the 2011 J.G. Farrell Award for best novel-in-progress and an early draft was long-listed for the 2011 Mslexia Women’s First Novel Competition.
I am currently based in Hove, Brighton and the west coast of Ireland. I live with my partner David Crean and Rónán our foundling cat.
I gratefully acknowledge the support of The Banff Centre; The Jeff and Kim van Steenbergen Scholarships; Arts Council England, The Arts Council Ireland. I also gratefully acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $153 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country. Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien. L’an dernier, le Conseil a investi 153 millions de dollars pour mettre de l’art dans la vie des Canadiennes et des Canadiens de tout le pays.