The daughter of diplomats, Marie-Hélène Claudel Gilly first encountered cross-cultural (mis)communications while growing up in Naples, Tangiers, New York and Brussels, then Sydney. In 1998, she was awarded the Ordre du Mérite for her service to the French community in Sydney. She holds an MA in comparative literature from Columbia University in New York and in Theatre Studies from the University of New South Wales. She currently lives in Paris.