Sarah grew up in a family with no television, which meant she was a voracious (if fairly indiscriminate) reader, and was determined, from an early age, to be a writer. This led her to study journalism, and she joined ABC Radio Current Affairs where, in 1993, she won a Walkley Award for a story on diggers returning to Gallipoli. Later she became a researcher and field producer on ABC TV's 'Foreign Correspondent' program.
What most satisfied Sarah as a journalist was meeting people and telling stories which explored the emotional and moral complexities of life, but what she really wanted to do was to use fiction to explore this messy and beautiful business of being human. In 1997 she resigned from the ABC and moved to the hills outside Byron Bay to devote herself to writing fiction.
The week she moved into a rustic cabin in the forested valley, it started raining and rained for three months. That rain found its way into her writing. Sarah's first novel Salt Rain was published (Allen & Unwin) in 2004. It was shortlisted for the 2005 Miles Franklin Award, the Queensland Premier's Literary Prize and the Dobbie Literary Award. Salt Rain was published in the United States by MacAdam/Cage. Her second novel His Other House was published in March 2015 by Pan Macmillan and in Germany in August 2015.
Her third novel Promise was published in June 2016 by Pan Macmillan.
Sarah lives in sub-tropical northern New South Wales with the writer, Alan Close, and their young daughter.
Sarah is currently working with Extension English High School students (NSW) who are working on their own writing projects, offering them a very practical writing tools workshop.