Emily Diamand

As you can see, I’ve always loved cats
and hated hairbrushes...

I was born in London in 1971. But I don’t remember anything about that, and anyway when I was two my parents deprived me of my future as a slick city kid by moving to a house in rural Oxfordshire surrounded by fields and footpaths and the kinds of things they thought would be wonderful for children to grow up with. Turns out they were right, and I had a pretty lovely childhood there. I was the youngest of three and so, of course, my brother and sister spent most of their time ignoring me, although this was dotted with brief periods of torture. All very normal, and we get on brilliantly now.

At school, I was the classic booky child. Definitely not cool or part of the ‘in’ crowd. That didn’t really matter at primary school, but it got harder going at secondary school. It didn’t help that my dad chose my shoes for year twelve. So sensible! And well made. I tried everything to wreck those shoes, but all that got ruined was what little cred I had. Don’t let it happen to you.

emily-eight250 thecat325 emily-tree500

At this point (or so I’ve found out reading about other authors), I should tell you how I always wanted to write, dashed off my first novel at fourteen and went on to study Eighteenth Century poetry and literature at a university for very clever people (not that there’s anything wrong with that). But I didn’t. What I actually always wanted to do was save the world. Or the animally, planty, environmentally bits of it anyway. So instead of writing books I filled up my mum and dad’s garden with wildlife ponds, chucked wildflower seeds about and worried about the whales and rainforests. And then I went off to study environmental science at university.

digger After that, I did lots of things. I got paid to ask people in forests if they like trees (Mostly they do.). I lived in an experimental community (too experimental for me. I left.). I tried my hand at road protesting (I wasn’t much good at it. Diggers are pretty scary when you try lying in front of one). I worked on organic farms (I loved this. Mud, growing things, driving tractors. What more could you want?). And I ended up as a campaigner for Friends of the Earth. I did this for nearly eight years, and one day I will write some incredibly interesting memoirs about it, but not now. At the same time, I met a lovely man called Matthew, and we ended up married with a gorgeous son. And I wrote a book. And it got published. And now here I am...