Elizabeth Laird was born in New Zealand of Scottish parents, and came to Britain as a child. She has lived and worked in many countries including Malaysia, Ethiopia, India, Iraq, Lebanon and Austria. She and her husband, the writer David McDowall, now divide their time between London and Edinburgh.
Laird has travelled widely, on a variety of projects. The folktales she collected on journeys throughout Ethiopia are now available on two websites (see links). Laird is best known for her stories set in countries she knows well, including Ethiopia and various parts of the Middle East.
Her themes are realistic and explore contemporary events, such as war, homelessness and the experience of refugees. She has also written on environmental issues. Her novel Song of the Dolphin Boy (2018) concerns the impact on dolphins from plastic rubbish in the ocean off the coast of Scotland. Elizabeth Laird has won many prestigious awards and her work has been translated into more than 25 languages.
Now in her mid-seventies, she does few visits and events - never more than one in a day - but does accept invitations to visit schools or speak at festivals from time to time. (Photo credit: Angus McDowall)