It’s no great ‘I always wanted to be a writer’ story. Nothing like that. Growing up in South Africa, I figured I’d become a judge or politician. Back then I thought that was the way to fix the broken world. But words were my friends, I grabbed them early, and loved the shape they made on the page, the way they escorted me up a faraway tree and through space. At six, I wrote and illustrated my first story, Goodbye Kitchen, which was thin on plot, but big on food - a theme that seems to have followed me into adulthood.
I went on to study law at Yale, spent years fighting for women’s rights, counseling abused women and setting up a not-for-profit advocacy centre. In 2004, Hustler magazine made me 'Asshole of the Month,' for my view that violent pornography wasn’t so fabulous for women's equality. It was a great honour.
I had babies, moved countries and finally finished the novel I’d been working on for ten years, The Dreamcloth (2005). Ever since, I’ve been writing full-time. My books have been published in the UK, Australia, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Croatia and South Africa. In Germany, Weiberabend (Secret Mothers' Business) made it onto Der Spiegel's bestseller list in 2008, the sort of lucky break you always think will never happen to you.
When I’m not writing, drinking coffee or exercising, I sometimes venture out into the world to teach creative or life-writing. Together with Women’s Own Adventure, I take groups of women on writing adventures to destinations all over the world. Everyone has something they want to say, a legend about who they are. It's fun to be there when it finally makes it onto the page.
I've worked to raise money for abused women, breast cancer research, post-natal depression and children with special needs and am always open to supporting any cause that’s reaching to heal our world.
I live in Sydney, close to a beach, with my husband and two teenage kids. I spend a lot of time meditating, reading and patting my cats.
Author photograh by Ingrid Shakenovsky