About Me

I’m a writer, traveler, ESL teacher and language-lover. Originally from New Zealand, I’ve lived in Canada, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, East Timor, Italy and the USA. My husband is the great-hearted, funny and brilliant writer, teacher and Radio War Nerd co-host John Dolan.

Originally a poet, in 2007 my work was featured in a book published with Auckland University Press (the other two poets were Janis Freegard and Reihana Robinson). AUP New Poets 3 has been reviewed here by Tim Jones in his great long-running blog ‘Books in the Trees’. I’ve also published poems and reviews in New Zealand journals such as Glottis, Landfall and The New Zealand Listener.


Mostly recently I’ve published a travel memoir called Girls of the Empty Quarter about teaching English to girls in a Saudi Arabian town eight miles from the Yemeni border in 2010. The book has not yet been published in English but was translated into Italian by Marina Morpurgo and published as Le Ragazze di Rub’ al Khali by Astoria/Assagi in 2016.


photo by Maria Vernetti


In 2016 Stuff.co.nz published a series of articles I wrote about what I see as problematic aspects of New Zealand culture. The article was so widely read, argued about and shared that Stuff published a separate article about reader responses.

At the moment I’m working on a medieval murder mystery called The Candlemass Murders, a comic memoir about training for a marathon in the Balkans called How to Crash, and a children’s fantasy novel called Daisy’s Quest. I’m also trying to improve my Italian so I can translate great stories still unknown to English speakers.

And, of course, I’m working on this blog!