I am a teacher by training and profession and have taught people of all ages from all over the world.
After eight years of teaching in the UK, I taught at a university in Changsha, Hunan Province, China at a time (1986-87) when the country was just beginning to open up to the West once more. This experience was an eye-opener in so many different ways and helped me develop resourcefulness, adaptability and tolerance. My favourite memory of this period is of my students visiting my flat and teaching me how to cook jiaozi - Chinese dumplings. The little kitchen was full of lively and enthusiastic young people, boys and girls alike, determined to pass on a little bit of edible culture to the 'Foreign Expert' in their midst. Out of the laughter and the chaos the jiaozi emerged - lovely transformations of homely ingredients: flour, water, garlic, cabbage, soy sauce, pepper, salt and vinegar.
Teaching is a two-way process whose effects can last a lifetime...
On my return to the UK in 2001 I worked in the voluntary sector: at the Community Arts Centre, The Lanternhouse, based in Cumbria, and as a storyreader in our local bookshop The Tinner's Rabbit. I also led community creative writing classes in the little town of Millom and taught English as a Second Language for Cumbria Adult Education Service.
In 2007 I returned to university to pursue my love of translation, first studying for an MA in Literary Translation at the University of East Anglia and then continuing my studies at doctoral level.
I was able to gain experience at the university as a Lecturer in Literature and Translation, dropping my studies for a year to concentrate on the work.
After successfully completing my doctoral thesis, I am now based in Cumbria again, still working and still in love with words.