Given that Michelle de Kretser was born in Sri Lanka, moved to Australia as a teenager and finished her education in Paris, it is no surprise that she was an editor for the Lonely Planet guides.
It was during a sabbatical (she set up the Lonely Planet Paris HQ) that she wrote her first novel. ‘Editing is a trade, a technique, a craft,’ she says, ‘and it’s one for which I have great respect. But writing feels like a gift that is granted that might be withdrawn’. Academia rather than writing was her initial aim, but she found she had a ‘magpie mind’ better suited to fiction than research. The pooch in The Lost Dog is a plot device but, nevertheless, canines appear in all her novels: ‘My dogs are the only beings in my books who are drawn directly from life.’