Born Marie-Louise Chalcraft in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire on September
I attended a string of state schools, including Chiltern Edge in Oxfordshire.
Once my family moved down to Bath in 1979, I attended Fitzmaurice and
St Laurence schools in Bradford on Avon. Throughout my primary school
years I was constantly told off for reading secretly and writing long
stories instead of completing maths sheets. I’m not sure any of
my teachers ever read my stories, but I had a lot of books taken away.
When I was eleven, one teacher confiscated Lord of the Rings in the middle
of the Battle of Helm’s Deep, and I nearly suffered severe psychological
damage waiting a week to find out if Aragorn survived.
My A-levels were in German, French and English and I went on to study
German and Danish with literature at the University of East Anglia.
I did more studying and various translating and teaching jobs, including
teaching at a university in Germany for four years. Then I returned to
Britain to be a full time mother and home educator. These were the years
in which I overcame my education and regained my creativity. I read lots
and started writing again.
In 2004-5, I took the MA in Writing for Young People at the Bath Spa University.
I passed with distinction and was lucky enough to be taken on by an agent,
Rosemary Canter at United Agents and a publisher (Oxford University Press)
The Bath Festival of Children's Literature