About Raffaella


Raffaella Barker, one of the poet George Barker's 15 children and the oldest of those with novelist Elspeth Barker, was brought up in the Norfolk countryside.

She spent her childhood 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. Raffaella and her siblings grew up frequently submerged in the local rivers, mud pools and the phosphorescent sea - an upbringing passed on to the next generation through her three children.


After attending Norwich High School, Raffaella left Norfolk for London where she moved through life modeling, film-editing and journalism. She has written short stories for the radio, worked at Harpers & Queen magazine, as a columnist for Country Life and has been a regular contributor for the Sunday Times, the Sunday Telegraph, Harpers Bazaar and the Spectator. She also teaches Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia and the Guardian Novel Writing Masterclass.


Her debut novel Come and Tell Me Some Lies was written following the death of her father and published in 1994, capturing something of the spirit of her unconventional family. Since then she has written a further 8 novels -  The Hook, Hens Dancing, Summertime, Green Grass, A Perfect Life, Poppyland and her latest  From A Distance, as well as one for young adults, Phosphorescence - that have been translated into 15 languages and published all over the world.


Raffaella vividly evokes the wheeling desolation of the Norfolk coast while exploring the collisions of loss and discovery in family life. Laced with love and a comic touch, her novels make for escapism in the best sense.


Come and Tell Me Some Lies

"This autobiographical novel by the daughter of poet George Barker and writer Elspeth Barker is about growing up in a household devoted to literature rather than responsible parenting. A funny, charming tribute to an unconventional family." Books Quarterly



"Raffaella Barker's eighth novel is a poetic meditation on the notion of love at first sight" Daily Mail

"A heartfelt story told with honesty and affection - not to be missed by any romantic" She

"Barker is drawn repeatedly to the wheeling desolation of the Norfolk coast - this vivid evocation leaps off the page, as do delightful snapshots revealing he hot-breathed collision of family life" Independent on Sunday


A Perfect Life

"One of the most accurate and painful accounts of the break-up of a marriage... but also very funny" Bookseller’s Choice

"You could always stay in with a book by Raffaella Barker. The flower takes on an entrancing resonance in her latest novel A Perfect Life. And no wonder. This is the author who arranged a magical picnic for her daughter" Times


Raffaella's Books