I was born in in 1969 in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, where my father worked on the Matopos agricultural research station; I have one sister. My family heritage includes pre-Pioneer Column missionaries, South African farmers, English expatriates and a scattering of English, French Huguenot and German genes. I lived in Zimbabwe until I was 18, in various parts of the country, and then came down to the University of Cape Town for undergraduate studies in English. I love Cape Town and have found it very hard to consider leaving, which is largely why my entire academic career has been at UCT. With the collapse of Zimbabwe I became a South African citizen, and my parents and sister have also left the country, being scattered variously in the UK and Cape Town.
I am single, sharing a house with a friend known colloquially as my Evil Landlord, and with four cats and ridiculous quantities of books. In my free time I read science fiction and fantasy, study medieval cooking, role-play, noodle around on the internet, listen to alternative rock, play the piano badly but with great enjoyment, and cook huge meals for friends.