A United Kingdom National Poetry Competition winner, novelist, and nonfiction writer, she is known for Fusewire, Where the Serpent Lives, The Mara Crossing, and other works. Also an academic, she taught poetry at King's College London and published several nonfiction works on the history of Ancient Greece.
She was the first female Research Fellow at Wadham College, Oxford.
Her poems often contain scientific, musical, and historical themes.
She was married to British philosopher Myles Burnyeat.
Her great-great grandfather was the renowned naturalist Charles Darwin.