Nicola has spent most of her life in London, moving there to study English Literature at UCL, seldom returning to her Northern birthplace. She preferred exploring the vibrant 1980s London cultural scene, and getting involved in student activism, to reading long books.
After dabbling in journalism, she began a 30-year career in communications management, eventually becoming a senior business leader, running international teams for big companies. This gave her an insider’s view of how global organisations operate, and a solid grounding in how and why new technologies are adopted.
In 2017 she was awarded an MA in Digital Media from Goldsmiths University, following a six-month sabbatical to study full-time. Her dissertation focused on the digital environment surrounding the 2015 Nepal Earthquake. There, she expanded her thinking around issues such as surveillance, data ownership, consent and the potential for people to be manipulated without their knowledge.
Her debut novel, Rockstar Ending, the first in a new series, started life as a short story which won a dystopian fiction award from the Orwell Society. The judges described it as ‘highly original, macabre and very funny’. It was published in the Journal of Orwell Studies.
Since taking a break from the corporate world, Nicola has blogged from events such as SXSW in Austin, Texas, and CogX in London, the world’s largest artificial intelligence conference, on technology and society. Her reports have been picked up and run in a variety of media.
She has stayed involved with communications management, lecturing at universities on leadership, PR, ethics and corporate social responsibility; chairing the Inclusion Committee of the Women Leaders in Communications network; and consulting primarily on digital media.
Her home is in South East London, where she lives with her husband and two adult children.