Born into a family of eccentrics and raised in a haunted house, I developed an early interest in making things up. After completing my BA at Oxford, I lived in Boston, Massachusetts for a decade. My jobs there ranged from babysitter and box-assembler to researcher and lecturer at Harvard, where I also completed my PhD. Since returning to the UK, I’ve taught Creative Writing at Lancaster and Chester Universities and held a writing fellowship at Chester. I now teach on the Creative Writing MA at Hull. I’m a mother and I’m married to the artist John Brewer.

My first novel, The Monster’s Wife, came out with Barbican Press and was shortlisted for the Scottish First Book of the Year Award. My second novel, The American Girl, was published by William Morrow (US) and Harper Collins (UK) and translated into Korean by Tomato Publishing. My poems and short stories have appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies, including Best British Crime Stories, and all my longer fiction has been optioned for film and television. My third and fourth novels, Dark Tourists and Blight, are being prepared for publication.

Photo © John Brewer