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Vanessa MurrayI grew up in New Plymouth, Taranaki. It's a small town on the west coast of New Zealand known for its snow-capped mountain, art gallery, black sand beaches and bogans. 

I studied English Literature and Social Anthropology at Victoria University in Wellington, finished with first class honours then headed to London, where I spent three years perfecting the art of evading tube fares and not smiling at strangers and spending most of my money trying to get to other places. Berlin and Barcelona are my two favourite cities.

Oh, and Melbourne. Since 2004, I've called Melbourne home, and it has been good to me. It's here, in the gritty northern suburbs, that I set out to write professionally, and it's here that it has happened. I've found love and become a parent in Melbourne, and my partner and I now have a four-year-old son. Parenting him is turning out to be one of my life's great paradoxes; he's keeping me young, while simultaneously helping me to feel older and as though I'm ageing faster than I ever have.

Likes: yoga, bicycles, bittersweet chocolate, mornings, green tea, dogs, tequila, baking, handwritten letters, birdsong, historical fiction, river swimming, festivals, live theatre, foreign films, polka dots, grammatically correct text messages.

Dislikes: lateness, liquorice, cats, bad television, procrastination, pineapples, KISS (yes, the band), bloody Mary's, strawberries.