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Born in Harare, Zimbabwe, novelist Paula Hawkins was regularly surrounded by writers. News correspondents regularly came to the family home to visit with her father, a journalist and professor of economics. The family relocated to London when Hawkins was 17, but when her parents elected to return to Africa, Hawkins remained in the U.K. and attended university at Oxford. Following in her father's footsteps somewhat, she studied economics, balancing the discipline with courses in politics and philosophy. After graduation she took a job as a business reporter for The Times of London. It was around this time that she published her first book of financial advice for women, The Money Goddess. In the late 2000s, Hawkins' literary agent suggested she try her hand at fiction. The resulting Confessions of a Reluctant Recessionista was published in 2009 under the pseudonym Amy Silver. Hawkins produced three more novels under the pseudonym. The books were light and fluffy, but none were particularly successful. In 2013 Hawkins found herself under considerable financial strain and decided to write something a bit darker. The Girl on the Train, a story about a recently divorced alcoholic who may have witnessed a serious crime, was an instant hit and climbed to the top of the New York Times Bestseller List. The rights to the film were optioned by DreamWorks in 2015.