I write about technology and nature, and other topics as they interest me. I’m currently working on a new book which might turn out to be my first novel in over twenty years.
These days I live by the sea, a dream come true. I have four grandsons who are quirky, warm and bright. My home is in Bournemouth, England. My imaginary second home is in California. I’m passionate about finding ways to bring nature into our digital lives.
In recent years I’ve written for Orion Magazine, Aeon, Slate, Mashable, The Guardian, and others.
My books include ‘Technobiophilia: nature and cyberspace (2013), Hello World: travels in virtuality (2004), a travelogue/memoir of life online; the novels Correspondence (1992), short-listed for the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Best Science Fiction Novel, and ‘Water‘ (1994); an edited anthology ‘Wild Women: Contemporary Short Stories By Women Celebrating Women’ (1994), and ‘Creative Writing: A Handbook For Workshop Leaders’ (1995).
I’ve published extensively in both print and online, and initiated numerous online writing projects including The Noon Quilt, now an iconic image of the early days of the web.
In 2013 I took voluntary severance from my job as a Professor of New Media at De Montfort University, Leicester. I’m now a Visiting Fellow in The Media School at Bournemouth University.
I’ve been researching and thinking about computers and the internet since the late 1980s. I fell into cyberspace in 1995 when I discovered the virtual world of LambdaMOO and was inspired to found the trAce Online Writing Centre, an early global online community which ran for ten years. Since then I’ve spent much of every day online. I’ve written about digital life, lived it, and helped many others to join the wired world. Today I’m still in love with being wired, but I have questions. Where are we headed? What should we be doing to ensure that our digital lives are healthy, mindful and productive? How can all of us – children, adults, seniors – take practical steps to make that happen?
From 2005-2013 I was Professor of New Media in the Institute of Creative Technologies at De Montfort University, England, where I founded the field of transliteracy research, a unifying concept of literacy for before, during and after the digital age, and ran innovative projects like Amplified Leicester and the Transdisciplinary Common Room.
I’ve received funding from Arts Council England, the Arts and Humanities Research Board, the British Academy, the British Council, the EU, the Higher Education Innovation Fund, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, NESTA and many others. My partners have included commercial companies, universities, arts organisations, local authorities and colleagues in Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Sweden, and the USA. Some of my early websites have been archived in The British Library Special Collection, E-publishing Trends, including Sue Thomas (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013), Writing and the Digital Life (2007), and of course trAce (2005, 2008). You can also find many ancient pages of trAce (1998 onwards) at The Wayback Machine, and the main trAce Archive at Nottingham Trent University.
I was born in 1951 in Rearsby, a small village in Leicestershire, England, where my maternal grandparents owned a rose-growing business. My parents were both of Dutch nationality and during my growing up they moved between Newcastle, Corby, Epsom, and Nottingham whilst my father had a number of jobs including photocopier salesman and life underwriter. After leaving school I, too, pursued a varied career, including fine art student, accounts clerk, life model, bookseller, and self-employed machine-knitter. I went back to college in 1985 as a mature student and single parent, after which my life changed and I became a professional author and academic.