Yet in spite of the scrutiny she blossomed. In the 13 years since, her novels, essays and short stories have brought numerous literary prizes and critical praise. Born to a Jamaican mother and a British father she was brought up in Willesden, North London where many of her characters live. She began writing at the age of 5 and was a voracious reader – devouring the greats of literature. Now she divides her time between Willesden and New York where she teaches creative writing.