E. Berry-Hart was born in 1974 in Nuneaton and grew
up reading her older brothers' and sisters' books as
the family did not have TV for the first six years of
her life! She was never the same after reading Tolkien's
The Lord Of The Rings and John Wyndham's The Chrysalids
back to back over one summer when she was 11. "It
was almost like a mystical experience. For the first
time I saw worlds that seemed more real than my own.
I sat straight down and wrote a short story set in a
magical ice mountain. It was rubbish, so I chucked it
away and wrote another, then another, and it went on
T. E. Berry-Hart won a music scholarship to Howell's
School, Denbigh (www.howells.org)
that same year, the grounds of which she would draw
on later for the descriptions of the Old Hall and the
Inn of Court of Genopolis. In 1988 she met the British
explorer Robert Swann (the first man to walk unsupported
to both the South and North Poles) after winning an
environmental competition sponsored by him. The prize
was a tour of the United States to raise awareness of
global warming, but her most abiding memories are of
ordering far more than she could eat on room service.
In 1991 she took a year out between school and university
and worked first as a bartender in Istanbul and then
as a teacher in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province,
where she would wear full shalwar kameez (national dress)
and go exploring as much as she could, whether it was
a Pathan wedding, a snow-covered mountain trek, a Peshwari
ammunition market or an Afghan refugee camp.
At university she studied law at King's College, London,
where she graduated with a first class degree and spent
time juggling day jobs in various law firms while she
worked on fulfilling her dream of becoming a writer.
In 1999 she wrote her first stage play, "LegoLand",
which admitted her to the Royal Court Young Writer's
Programme, where she was tutored by Hanif Kureishi,
Simon Stephens and David Eldridge. In 2000 she was the
British delegate at the Young European Playwright's
Interplay festival in Poland, and had short plays produced
at the Royal Court as part of their young writer's festivals.
In 2003 she became writer-in-residence at the Blue Elephant
Theatre in London where her play "Waking Up Suddenly"
In 2004 she was encouraged to enter the Richard and
Judy Book Competition by the playwright Cristina Teixeira,
who had an idea for a world where pain no longer existed.
When this idea was placed as the central difference
between Citizens and Naturals, the story of Genopolis
gained its philosophy and its heart. The collected characters
and elements of twenty years fell into place and the
first chapter was written almost overnight. The book
was finally purchased by Scholastic Children’s
Books, but the synopsis was so long that it had to be
divided into two parts!
TE Berry-Hart currently lives in London, and loves
ginger, Pink Floyd, small furry animals, and playing
tennis (but only when she wins).