penny black



I write about what I feel passionate about, need I say more?

Making Babies (An Embryonic Farce) has never been produced in the original English. However it was translated into German by Barbara Christ, ran during the 2004/2005 season at the Municipal Theatre of Heilbronn, and caused quite a stir. Malformed babies representing Kätchen von Heilbronn were created by a well-known Berlin artist who then hurled them from the roof of the theatre!

"Making Babies is a farce about the IVF industry, self-identity and the importance of knowing where you come from. It was fired by listening to a lecture in Southwark Cathedral by Robert Winston, who held his hands out to the audience and said: “I have this God-given gift in these God-given hands to create life – and you’re saying I shouldn’t?” Nowadays, even though he is a Lord, he is much more humble.

So, a fundamentally serious theme, but a farce nonetheless, with four characters, a kidnapping, a stalking, some science, kitchen table surgery, several big surprises, some sharp scalpels, laughs … and a lot of cooking."

Sudden Silence about the effects of stroke and the methods used in recovery was part of the Arcola’s New Writing Season of 2009 and is also translated into German by the redoubtable Barbara Christ. “Beryl has had a stroke and can no longer talk, apart from to her long-dead friend, Maisie. Her unloved daughter, Sarah, is filled with guilt but determined to do right by her mother and at the same time support her teenage daughter, Beryl’s beloved grand-daughter Zoe. But as she starts to clean out her mother’s flat, Sarah discovers she is not who she thinks she is, and the only people who can clear it all up are either dead or struck silent. Maisie and Sarah are both talking to Beryl, but she can’t reply, and Peter the speech therapist is constantly interrupting and making her do her exercises.

How do you explain the past if you can no longer speak?”


I had great fun writing two short plays for the Miniaturists: Honey, I’m Home, a festive comedy played entirely in the dark as Simon comes home from the office Christmas party and confesses all to the dog; and See No Evil, which compares plastic surgery with the wearing of the hijab and the way society wants people who are different to ‘be quiet’.


It says novels in the plural. This is a little lie. I’ve translated novels (More ...), I’ve ghost-written a novel (More ...), but there is actually only one novel I’m writing at the moment. It’s a revenge thriller, I’m loving it, the working title is Broken Doll.  I’ll tell you when it’s ready.


Ghost-writing is not unlike dramaturgy. Each project is different, requires careful communication with the originator, a lot of research and an openness to the final result.

Trouble at Dawn, the autobiography of Mischa Spoliansky. To be published in 2015 by Ricordi/Universal Music Publishing on the 30th anniversary of Spoliansky’s death.

Russian Millennium is a fast-paced thriller. The action is set around the oil industry and travels from Marbella to London, Moscow to Geneva, and from Novorossisyk to Sebastopol.