Born in Edinburgh, Elspeth Barker came to Somerville in 1958 to study Literae Humaniores (Classics). Her first work after graduation was as a Latin teacher.
Barker’s first novel O Caledonia was published in 1991 and won four awards, including the David Higham Prize and the Angel Fiction Prize. It was shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize. She is a feature writer and reviewer for the Independent on Sunday, Guardian, Sunday Times, Observer, LRB and TLS, Harpers & Queen, Scotland on Sunday, Country Living and Vogue
In 2012 she published Dog Days, a collection of her journalism.
Barker teaches creative writing in the UK, Europe and the US and has been Visiting Professor of Fiction at Kansas University. She has been a judge for the McKitterick and Sagittarius prizes. She is currently writing for The Literary Review.
Did you know? In 2017, writer Ali Smith called O Caledonia ‘A sparky, funny work of genius about class, romanticism, social tradition and literary tradition.’