Shena Mackay was born in Edinburgh in 1944. Her writing career began when she won a prize for a poem written when she was fourteen. Two novellas, Dust Falls on Eugene Schlumberger and Toddler on the Run were published before she was twenty. Redhill Rococo won the 1987 Fawcett Prize, Dunedin won a 1994 Scottish Arts Council Book Award, The Orchard on Fire was shortlisted for the 1996 Booker Prize and, in 2003, Heligoland was shortlisted for both the Orange Prize and Whitbread Novel Award. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and lives in Southampton.
She writes like an angel wielding a scalpel, dissecting her characters with sublime, sharp-edged prose - GuardianHer prose is flawlessly seductive and comic, confidently witty and sensual - Independent on SundayShena Mackay notices a London that passes most writers by . . . Her London is not a convenient backdrop - it is the capital itself, vividly and freshly set down in glancing detail - IndependentA rich feast to be enjoyed page by page as Mackay, in often dazzling prose, describes the hilarious antics of bibulous writers or, with moving lyricism, those 'surprised by joy' - Kirkus