I am an anthropologist who has lived and worked in Tanzania for several years since the mid-1990s conducting long-term fieldwork in remote rural areas. The worlds I describe in How to Steal a Mountain, the families, their ambitions and livelihoods are based on that experience. In particular Samti’s world is based on a year spent living in my wife’s village in central Tanzania on the slopes of a large extinct volcano. Some of this book amalgamates stories of her childhood and our children’s experience growing up and going to school there. Writing How to Steal a Mountain has meant interacting with different writing communities and critique groups. I am particularly grateful to writer friends in the Tanzanian Writers Forum and SCBWI (UK) for their advice and input.
When I am not working on children's fiction I am a Professor of Development Studies at the University of Sheffield where I co-direct the Sheffield Institute for International Development. I am also an adjunct professor at the Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology at Arusha, Tanzania. You can learn more about my academic work at this site.
I have written a blog about trends in African children's fiction and the challenges of writing it given my background here.