Irene Sabatini: Biography - Irene Sabatini

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Irene Sabatini won the Orange Prize for New Writers in 2010 for her first book, "The Boy Next Door: A Novel ".

"Peace and Conflict: A Boy's Tale" (2014) is her follow-up, and will appeal to both adults and younger readers.

Irene Sabatini spent her childhood in the laid back city of Bulawayo in Zimbabwe, gobbling up books from the Public Library. After University in Harare she ventured across continents to Colombia, excited by the chance to live in, learn from, and be inspired by a new culture.

One early morning she found herself in the lush countryside outside Bogot√°, sitting on the veranda of a former Dominican monastery: in the quiet, she opened a red notebook and started writing.

She has yet to stop.

"I was born some fifty years ago in Hwange, a coal mining town in western Zimbabwe. I grew up in  Bulawayo (the second largest city in Zimbabwe), which is known for its graceful colonial era architecture, examples of which can be found on the picture gallery page.

I spent many hours in the fabulous  Public Library, down in the basement of the children's section devouring everything from Enid Blyton to Shane by Jack Schaefer, one of my favourite books. I left quiet Bulawayo for 'The Sunshine City',  Harare, to attend university. Harare is all hustle and bustle, with some fantastic futuristic buildings.

After university I went to  Colombia where I stayed for four years working as teacher and studying for my masters. One of my biggest thrills in Colombia was catching sight of the legendary Gabriel Garcia Marquez in Cartegena de India. 'Here, in front of me, is a real, living writer', I remember thinking. 'They exist!'.

Soon after that, I started writing. The writing seemed to just spiral out of me, and if I had to pick a time when I really started this journey it would be that wonderful quiet morning on a verandah so many years ago in the Colombian countryside."

Irene Sabatini grew up in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

She studied psychology at the University of Zimbabwe and then took a Masters at the Institute of Education in London. She has lived and worked in several countries: teaching in Colombia, conducting research work in Barbadian schools and writing environmental science books for Zimbabwean primary schools.

She currently divides her time between New York, Geneva and Bulawayo.

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