Kay Powell

kay blueKay was born in Zambia and grew up in Rhodesia. In 1968 she went to university in the UK and became a social worker, based in the Welsh valleys. She returned to Rhodesia for a few years in the 1970s, and her two daughters were born there. After a stint at Faber & Faber, in London, she returned to Zimbabwe in 1981, first working for Macmillan, and then co-founding Quest Publishing.

Foremost among Quest’s titles were the Encyclopedia Zimbabwe, which involved coordinating and editing contributions from about 100 experts, and Serving Secretly, the memoirs of the country’s head of Intelligence, 1964-1981, which Kay co-published with John Murray, UK.

Emigrating to England in 1988, she set up an agency to provide publishing services to EU- and UN-funded international development organisations, co-publishing several titles with John Wiley, UK. In 2007, her book on the use of English in the workplace, What Not To Write, was published by Talisman, Singapore; now in its 9th edition, more than 38,000 copies had been sold by the end of 2020.

Kay lives near Cambridge, UK, with her husband, also a novelist (


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