...was born of Ukrainian parents in a refugee camp in Kiel, Germany, after World War II, and grew up in Sussex, Doncaster, Gainsborough and Witney. She now lives in Sheffield.
Her first novel, ‘A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian’ was published in 2005 when she was 58 years old, and went on to sell a million copies in thirty five languages. It was shortlisted for the 2005 Orange Prize for Fiction, long listed for the Man Booker prize, won the 2005 Saga Award for Wit and the 2005 Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction.
Her second novel ‘Two Caravans’ (2007) (published in US as Strawberry Fields) was short-listed for the George Orwell prize for political writing.
‘We Are All Made of Glue’ was published in 2009, and ‘Various Pets Alive and Dead’ is her most recent novel, published in 2012, bringing together hippies, hamsters and the financial crisis. Her short stories have been broadcast on BBC radio, and her articles have appeared in the Guardian, Independent, Sunday Telegraph and Financial Times.
She is now working on her fifth novel. In her spare time she used to enjoy walking and gardening.