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MARK McCRUM was born in Cambridge, where his father was an academic. He grew up and went to school in Kent and Berkshire and after a nine month 'gap year' teaching at a multiracial school in Botswana returned to Cambridge to study English at the University. He was approached by Bruce Parry, presenter of Tribe, a new series about remote indigenous people, to work with him on a book to accompany the programmes (see separate page). Meanwhile, he had had the idea of giving his contemporary etiquette idea a global dimension and Going Dutch In Beijing, the International Guide to Doing the Right Thing was conceived. This proved much more appealing to publishers and he soon found himself signing yet another contract. From sitting around with imaginary characters who were going nowhere, Mark now found himself working on three books simultaneously, with barely a minute to call his own.