I started out as a geographer and social demographer; my master's thesis concentrated on infant mortality in developing countries. For a few years I worked in the Department of Sociology at Utrecht University, where I did research on female employment and fertility rates. In my spare time, I became active as a novelist; I have published several works of fiction. After completing my second degree (MA English), I began teaching English, soon specialising in EAP. In addition to my job at the University of Birmingham, I am also a freelance academic translator and editor for several university language centres in the Netherlands.