Born Liverpool, in the same hospital as John Lennon. Quintessential oldest child: four younger siblings. Childhood variously in Canada, Slough, and around New Zealand. Convent school in Auckland (Dominicans: the ones that ran the Inquisition) then university in Auckland, Wellington and Cambridge, from where, eventually, PhD in obscure francophone literature. Previous occupations include dishwasher, paediatric radiographer, teaching assistant in Parisian middle school, university lecturer, and editor. Current occupation: mother to Rebecca and Maggie. Present preoccupations: poetry, klezmer, and cycling. Married to Jack since 20 Feb 2000; now living happily in unfashionable part of Wellington.
'Pick up a pen and a second self squirms out' – Carol Shields, Mary Swann