Growing up in a publisher’s home in South Africa meant that I fell in love with language and the written word at an early age. Our house was always filled with manuscripts, books and colourful authors. This was during the apartheid era, and witnessing the brutal regime at work sensitised me to the issues of injustice and racial prejudice – experiences which would inform much of my early writing.
After school, I completed a BA in English Literature at the University of the Witwatersrand; however, the untimely death of my father from a terminal illness saw me change direction and pursue a career in medicine.
In 1989 I emigrated from South Africa to New Zealand, where I completed my medical degree and went on to work as a family doctor.
While I found practising medicine immensely satisfying, I still hankered after the literary world of my childhood. Finally, the call to write became too great. I hung up my stethoscope, returned to university to do a Master of Creative Writing and began to write in earnest.
Most of my days are spent writing, mentoring new writers and speaking at events. I have also been involved, alongside my husband, in establishing a charitable surgical service in Auckland to assist those who have fallen between the cracks in our health system: www.aotearoacharityhospital.org.