29 aug 1972
Paula Hawkins is British novelist born in Salisbury, Rhodesia in 1972, whose first novel, The Girl on the Train, became a bestseller. She is the daughter of an economics professor and she and her family moved back from Rhodesia to London in 1989 when she was 17 years old. She attended the University of Oxford and graduated with a degree in philosophy, politics and economics. She worked for The Times as a business journalist and then worked as a freelance journalist for various different publications.
In 2009, Hawkins turned her attention from reporting factual stories to writing fiction. She used the pen name Amy Silver and wrote four romantic comedy novels; the most memorable of which being Confessions of a Reluctant Recessionista. These first novels did not become successful and were not at all critically acclaimed. It was not until she wrote a much darker story, her thriller The Girl on the Train, that she became a bestselling author.
Paula Hawkins has reported that the novel took her 6 months of writing full time to complete. It is a much more serious book than her previous four novels and deals with issues of drug abuse, alcoholism and domestic violence among others. The novel was a bestseller in hardback and the publisher pushed back the publication of the paperback edition several times in order to capitalise on its success for as long as possible. Only a year after its initial release, The Girl on the Train had been published in more than forty different languages, had been optioned for adaptation for film by Dreamworks and had become a bestseller worldwide.