Born in London to Irish parents, Hyland came to Australia at the age of two, but moved to Dublin, Ireland at the age of four because her family had not found secure work or accommodation in Sydney. When she was aged eleven, Hyland's family returned to Australia, settling initially in Western Australia and then moving to Melbourne. Hyland is non-committal about her nationality; she has said 'I might live in Manhattan or Edinburgh or Cardiff, I think of myself as without nationality.'
Hyland moved to London in 2005.
(Source of quote: 'Drama of a Life Less Ordinary', an interview conducted by Brigid Delaney and published in the Sydney Morning Herald (Spectrum), 19-20 July 2003, p.3.)
This Is How tells the story of Patrick Oxtoby, an outsider longing to fit in. When his fiancé Sarah breaks off their engagement, Patrick leaves home and moves to a boarding house in a seaside village a few hours away. In spite of his hopes for a new and better life, Patrick struggles to make friends or make the right impression. He can't shake the feeling that his new acquaintances are conspiring against him, further fracturing his fragile personality and prompting him to take a course of action that alters the course of his life. (Publisher's blurb)
'John Egan is a misfit — "a twelve year old in the body of a grown man with the voice of a giant" — who diligently keeps a "log of lies." John's been able to detect lies for as long as he can remember, it's a source of power but also great consternation for a boy so young. With an obsession for the Guinness Book of Records, a keenly inquisitive mind, and a kind of faith, John remains hopeful despite the unfavorable cards life deals him.
'This is one year in a boy's life. On the cusp of adolescence, from his changing voice and body, through to his parents’ difficult travails and the near collapse of his sanity, John is like a tuning fork sensitive to the vibrations within himself and the trouble that this creates for he and his family.
'Carry Me Down is a restrained, emotionally taut, and sometimes outrageously funny portrait whose drama drives toward, but narrowly averts, an unthinkable disaster.' (Publication summary)