Raffaella Barker was born in London in 1964 and moved to Norfolk when she was three. Her father, the poet George Barker, had 15 children; she is the oldest of those by the novelist Elspeth Barker.
She spent her childhood in Norfolk sulking and refusing to get dressed, going everywhere in her nightie. She recalls worrying about how to respond at school when asked how many brothers and sisters she had. She did not know the answer.
After Norwich High School, Raffaella Barker moved to London and did life modelling and film-editing. She landed a job on Harpers & Queen magazine and later freelanced as its motoring columnist. For 10 years she wrote a column for Country Life about her week.
Her debut novel Come and Tell Me Some Lies was published in 1994, followed by The Hook, Hens Dancing, Summertime, Green Grass, the children's book Phosphorescence and A Perfect Life.