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About Ophelia

Ophelia Field was born to American parents in Australia in 1971. She attended schools in Queensland and Sydney, before she and her mother emigrated to Britain. After attending Westminster School in 1987-9, Ophelia took a gap year in South East Asia, where she worked in a Vietnamese refugee camp in Hong Kong. This experience was the beginning of a deep interest in issues relating to refugees and human rights.

Ophelia read English at Christ Church, Oxford, graduating with a double first, and gained a Masters in Development Studies at the London School of Economics with distinction. She won the national T.E. Utley Prize in 1994.

Ophelia subsequently embarked on a career as a policy analyst and advocate in the refugee and human rights field, working at the European Council on Refugees and Exiles(ECRE) until 1998, then as a consultant to a range of human rights organisations, including Human Rights Watch (see her HRW reports entitled By Invitation Only and Stemming the Flow), the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (see her global study, Alternatives to Detention of Asylum Seekers and Refugees) and the New York Immigration Coalition.

Ophelia Field
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At the same time, Ophelia wrote journalism and book reviews for The Sunday Telegraph, The Guardian, The Times Literary Supplement, The Literary Review and others. In 2000, she started to research and write The Favourite, a historical biography of Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, published in the UK by Hodder & Stoughton and in the US by St Martin’s Press. In 2003, Ophelia received the inaugural Elizabeth Longford Grant for the writing of historical biography, and was commissioned by HarperCollins to start work on her second book, The Kit-Cat Club, published in 2008.

Until 2008, Ophelia was Director of the Writers in Prison Programme of English PEN, the international writers’ association that campaigns for persecuted and imprisoned writers around the world. Subsequent freelance jobs have included teaching 'Writing Biography' to MA students at the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters (CELL, UCL) and an evening course on 'The Art of the Essay' at The Idler Academy, the compilation of an 'Essay Library' for Notting Hill Editions, and contribution of an article to a forthcoming OUP book on 'The Literary Essay'.

Since 2010, Ophelia has become involved in the field of Special Educational Needs, and, when not developing new writing projects, she works for the disabled children’s charity, KIDS, providing ‘Independent Support’ to families and young people applying for special educational provision.

Ophelia currently lives in London, with her partner and children.


Agent: Lizzy Kremer at David Higham Associates | © Ophelia Field 2015