Marina Lewycka’s debut novel, A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, became a bestseller in 2005. Both funny and tragic, it concerns the problems that arise when the narrator’s elderly parent falls for a brash, younger Ukrainian woman who is keen on gaining a British passport. Lewycka was born in a refugee camp in Kiel, Germany, of Ukrainian parents, and grew up in England. I catch her in Sheffield, on her way to stay with friends. They are the people in whose house she finished writing her first novel. She is completing her second.