When I was starting out as a writer, it was a huge dream of mine to have my books published in other languages. It makes me incredibly happy to have my books published in Arabic by Kalimat and I just can’t wait to be in Dubai and have the chance to share my books with young (and old) readers. Of course, I love the food in the Dubai as well, so that’s an added bonus!
When did you realise you wanted to be a writer?
When I was ten I read a book by a 13-year-old and it inspired me to start writing my own book immediately. All I knew about published books was that they had to be typed. In those days we didn’t have computers and my family didn’t even have a typewriter so I didn’t get very far, but I tried again when I was 17 and then when I was 19. I finally had my first book published when I was 22.
What book do you find yourself re-reading most often?
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
I’d work at a wildlife sanctuary. I hope that one day I might have a sanctuary of my own, for either horses or wild animals. I’m very proud to be an ambassador for the Born Free Foundation, which does a huge amount to rescue wild animals in horrific situations of captivity and give them a new life in their sanctuaries in South Africa, Malawi and Ethiopia.
And finally, we have a number of aspiring writers attending the Festival. What one piece of advice would you give them?
Read as much as you can, as often as you can. There are no good writers who are not also good readers.