Elspeth Sandys was born in Timaru, New Zealand and educated at Otago and Auckland Universities. She moved to the UK in 1969. She has published 9 novels, River Lines was long listed for the Orange prize in 1996, two collections of short stories, Standing in Line won the Pen International, Elena Garro prize in 2003, and two memoirs What Lies Beneath and Casting Off. and has written extensively for the BBC and RNZ. She has also worked in film and tv. Her stage plays have been performed in the UK and NZ. In July 2019 Elspeth published A Communist in the Family: Searching for Rewi Alley a story that combines family memoir, biography, history and travelogue. Elspeth has held a number of literary fellowships and residencies, and in 2006 was awarded the ONZM for services to literature. She now lives in New Zealand.