About me

I was born and grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa.

I studied drama at the University of the Witwatersrand and I've worked as a writer for theatre, television, magazines, advertising, comedy and the corporate market. I have lived in London since 2000. I live with one husband, two sons and three cats.

 

I've published several novels to critical acclaim: This Year's Black (Struik 2004), Lame Angel (Struik 2006), Babies in Waiting (Quercus 2012) and Wonder Women (Quercus 2013). After Isabella was published by Allen & Unwin in 2016, and What She Left in 2017.

 

I also write under the pseudonym Cass Hunter, and my first novel as Cass, The After Wife, was published by Trapeze in March 2018. It was translated into nine languages and optioned as a film in China.

My television credits include Sesame Street, and my corporate clients have included Getty Images, the BBC, the Maybourne Hotel Group, Lever Faberge, Starbucks, Toyota and many more.

 

My play, Through a Glass Darkly, was performed at the Rosemary Branch Theatre in 2016, and my stage adaptation of Dracula was performed at the Bridewell Theatre in 2019.

 

My new projects

THE DEATH AND LIFE OF LUCY WESTENRA

The death and life of Lucy Westenra is a dual timeline historical novel: modern day and late Victorian. It is a feminist retelling of Dracula from the perspective of Lucy Westenra.

 

It concerns the restrictive choices women faced in the Victorian era, and how the stories of women can be manipulated and erased.

 

Our modern day protagonist, Kate, finds a long-hidden letter which leads her to investigate the story of Lucy Westenra, a girl who died 120 years before, aged just 19. 

 

Bram Stoker’s Lucy was a victim of Dracula who died, then became undead and had to be slain by the vampire hunters.

 

My Lucy is a fiercely independent girl who sees education and financial freedom as the route to living the life she dreams of. But after her father’s death, she is coerced into an engagement with the scheming Arthur Holmwood.

 

Her mother bequeaths everything directly to Holmwood. Now Lucy is surplus to requirements, Holmwood tries to kill her. Lucy fakes her death to escape the untenable situation.

 

Lucy and her friend Mina take charge of the story and retell it. The version they create, the version we all know... conceals Lucy’s escape and give her the freedom she has always desired.

KEZIA PEPPERCORN

I have begun research for a new novel set in the Victorian era. For centuries, the care of the dead fell to women: each parish had a Sextoness, or death searcher, who would visit a home when someone had died. She would identify the cause of death and arrange burial in the churchyard. But with the Industrial Revolution and the influx of people into cities, the churchyards became overwhelmed. The male-dominated undertaking industry arose, and municipal cemeteries sprung up around London.

 

In 1832, Kezia Peppercorn became the death searcher at St Augustine, Watling Street. This will be her story.