Having gained a passion for languages from my mother, I arrived at Durham University in 1981 to embark on a Chinese Studies degree. In 1982/3 I spent a year at Beijing Languages Institute, learning first hand the pressures of intercultural living and developing what was to be a lifelong passion for all things Chinese. As a mother of four my reading experience is wide and varied, from narrating bedtime stories in silly voices to exploring fiction as an escape from the demands of motherhood. Having launched my children on an unsuspecting world, I have spent the last decade teaching Chinese in secondary schools in the West Midlands, developing my knowledge of Chinese fiction and 20th Century Chinese History as I taught my Sixth Form students. Having recently retired, I am looking forward to spending a larger portion of my time exploring all things oriental.