Irene Sabatini spent her childhood in the laid back city of Bulawayo in Zimbabwe, gobbling up books from the Public Library. After University in Harare she ventured across continents to Colombia, excited by the chance to live in, learn from, and be inspired by a new culture.
One early morning she found herself in the lush countryside outside Bogotá, sitting on the veranda of a former Dominican monastery: in the quiet, she opened a red notebook and started writing.
She has yet to stop.
"I was born some forty years ago in Hwange, a coal ming town in western Zimbabwe. I grew up in Bulawayo (the second largest city in Zimbabwe), which is known for its graceful colonial era architecture, examples of which can be found on the picture gallery page.
I spent many hours in the fabulous Public Library, down in the basement of the children's section devouring everything from Enid Blyton to Shane by Jack Schaefer, one of my favourite books. I left quiet Bulawayo for 'The Sunshine City', Harare, to attend university. Harare is all hustle and bustle, with some fantastic futuristic buildings.
After university I went to Colombia where I stayed for four years working as teacher and studying for my masters. One of my biggest thrills in Colombia was catching sight of the legendary Gabriel Garcia Marquez in Cartegena. 'Here, in front of me, is a real, living writer', I remember thinking. 'They exist!'.
Soon after that, I started writing. The writing seemed to just spiral out of me, and if I had to pick a time when I really started this journey it would be that wonderful quiet morning on a verandah so many years ago in the Colombian countryside."
Irene Sabatini holds a Masters Degree from the Institute of Education in London. She has followed a varied and international path: from teacher in Bogota, to researcher in the Caribbean, editor in Harare and author in Geneva.