I was born in this former palace in Kathmandu, just minutes after my mother ran up the stairs into the delivery suite, already breathless from shouting at the night watchman to open the hospital gates. One likes to make an entrance. I spent most of my childhood in Nepal, shuttling between the ancient capital, the lakeside town of Pokhara and a village at the foot of Fishtail Mountain where my parents were studying the language and culture of the Gurung people. At age nine I joined my big brother and a pack of other kids (and one harried chaperone) on the two-and-a-half days of overland travel to our boarding school in north India. The journey did not demand riding on the top of buses and racing around Lucknow in cycle rikshaws but would have been very tedious otherwise.
As my parents' work had them zig-zagging across Nepal, India and Pakistan, holidays could be anywhere from the beaches of Visakhapatnam to the wilds of the Khyber Pass. I continued at Woodstock School, 7000 feet up in the Garwhal Himal, till finishing at age 18 with an enduring love for South Asia, an address book spanning the globe and a wardrobe that can best be summed up as Bollywood meets Missionary Barrel. Thus equipped, I returned with my family to Australia – the country of our passports – to work out what to do at University and how to survive a supermarket. (Still haven't mastered that)
Disappointing millions of hopeful fans by not becoming a screen goddess, I went to teacher's college. My majors were English, drama and dance (in which I demonstrated that my movement influences did not extend far beyond Hindi movies). I spent a year travelling around the world and met my future husband – back in Kathmandu, of all places – and ended up moving to Scotland to be with him. I set up shop as a freelance community artist doing everything from dance with pre-schoolers to theatre workshops to reminiscence with the elderly. We returned to work in Nepal for four years, my husband as a doctor, myself as a teacher, and now live in the Highlands of Scotland where we raise our two sons, revel in the great outdoors and retreat to the warm indoors.
I have written all my life, always for pleasure but increasingly with readers, listeners or an audience in mind. My first significant work was the stage play The Long Way Home, performed in central Scotland in 1997 and then on Radio Scotland the following year. Since then I have written further plays, numerous short stories, articles, poems, a documentary and a novel. Details of them all can be found under the Stories, Plays and Other Tales tabs.
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