Sarah Dunant is an award-winning novelist, broadcaster, critic and patron of the Orange Prize, the prestigious literary award for female authors. She has written several thrillers, two of which are being adapted as films, and as creator of private investigator Hannah Wolfe was awarded the Crime Writers’ Association Macallan Silver Dagger for Fiction. One of her most recent novels, The Birth of Venus, is set in Florence at the time of Lorenzo de’ Medici and relates the story of Alessandra, the artistic daughter of a wealthy Florentine cloth merchant. Meticulously researched, it is also a vivid and accurate account of life in Florence in the fifteenth century. The writer divides her time between London and Florence. While in town recently to work on her latest novel, she spoke to The Florentine’s Helen Glave.