Photo:  J P Masclet

a brief biography

I was born and brought up in London, with interludes in Manhattan and Brussels, and I then studied Drama & Theatre Arts at the University of Birmingham.

My debut novel The Mathematics of Love (Headline Review/ William Morrow) is probably the only novel to have been simultaneously listed for the Commonwealth Writers' Best First Book, and the Romantic Novelist's Association Book of the Year. It has also been translated into many languages. My second novel, A Secret Alchemy (Headline Review/Harper Perennial) reached the Sunday Times Bestsellers list, and was named as one of The Times Top 50 Paperbacks of 2009.  My first non-fiction book, Get Started in Writing Historical Fiction was published by John Murray Learning 2016, as part of the famous Teach Yourself imprint. My latest book, This is Not a Book About Charles Darwin, will be published by Holland House Books on Darwin Day - 12th February - 2019. For more about my great-great-grandparents, Charles Darwin and his wife Emma Wedgwood, click here

I was awarded a PhD in Creative Writing by Goldsmiths in 2010, and until recently I was an Associate Lecturer in Creative Writing with the Open University. I've taught workshops and courses in writing from Aberyswyth to Zurich, and I also enjoy chairing events. As a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Goldsmiths, and then at the Royal College of Music, I have also worked on academic writing with students, post-graduates and staff at all levels. These days I chiefly I work one-to-one with writers as an editor and mentor: for more on this see Teaching & Mentoring.

I enjoy photography, cooking and failing to stop buying books; for more about me, click here.