British poet, novelist, and children's writer. Her poetry collections include The Sea Skater (1986) and The Raw Garden (1988). Among her works of fiction are the novels Going to Egypt (1992), Zennor in Darkness (1993), Burning Bright (1994), A Spell of Winter (1995, winner of the Orange Prize for women's fiction), Talking to the Dead (1996), Your Blue‐Eyed Boy (1998), The Siege (2001, set in Leningrad), and Mourning Ruby (2003). All are marked by richly textured writing, descriptions of food and sex, and an eerie sense of place which matches their mysterious plots, often concerned with long‐buried family secrets and betrayals. House of Orphans (2006) is a historical novel.