Drusilla Modjeska was born in London and raised in Hampshire, the eldest of three sisters. At twenty, she married an anthropologist, and together they left for Papua New Guinea. Her years there, including as a student at the University of Papua New Guinea, laid the basis for her enduring interest in the Pacific and Papua New Guinea in particular. While her new novel, The Mountain, is not autobiographical, it makes use of her experience at the newly established University of Papua New Guinea. In 2004 she was one of the first outsiders to visit the Ömie, from which The Mountain's fictional mountain people are drawn. Drusilla Modjeska is based in Sydney, but makes regular visits to Papua New Guinea and London.