Polly Devlin was born in rural Northern Ireland and started her journalistic career at 21 when she won a talent competition, with the prize being a job at Vogue magazine in London.

After several years in London, she moved to Manhattan when Diana Vreeland poached her to become features editor on American Vogue. Later, back in London, she spent four years at the National Film School and has, despite her varied portfolio – including one novel and a book on ceramics – always claimed to be a reluctant writer. ‘You have to prod me with a cattle prod to make me write,’ she once said. ‘I’ve never written without being asked. And prodded. I find writing very easy. I just hate it.’ This abhorrence aside, she is also a teacher of creative non-fiction.