Penny was born and grew up in Blackheath, South East London.   After studying English in Newcastle, she lived in Italy, Greece and Morocco, teaching English as a foreign language and filling notebooks with ideas for her writing, before training as a primary school teacher. She moved to Cambridgeshire in the early 1990s where she brought up three children. 

Penny has written travel pieces and short stories, and worked as an author for Cambridge University Press English Readers series, and for Longmans. As well as writing Penny continued to teach at Primary level until recently, and also runs courses in creative writing for adults.

She completed an MA in Creative Writing at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge in 2009 where she wrote the first draft of Tideline.

Penny now works as a Royal Literary Fellow at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge supporting students with their writing.

Penny’s books are about family and relationships, what happens when respectable people make poor, or even disastrous decisions, the shadow side in even the most benign of us, and how we respond when confronted with darkness in other people.

She is proud to say her books  have been given their  own epithet by one of her past  editors, Emma Lowth who called them  ‘Hancockian!’