“Fiction should be about moral dilemmas that are so bloody difficult that the author doesn't know the answer.” – Pat Barker
Patricia Mary W. Barker, born on this date in 1943, is an English writer whose Regeneration Trilogy collectively has often been cited among the 10 Best Historical Fiction works in English literature. Winner of numerous awards, she generally focuses her writing on themes of trauma, survival and recovery.
Barker grew up as a voracious reader in a working class neighborhood in Yorkshire. She studied international history at the London School of Economics and turned to writing in her mid-30s. After early failures (her first 3 novels were rejected), she broke onto the scene in 1982 with Union Street, the first of 3 books set in the Yorkshire region of her youth.
Barker won the 1983 Fawcett Society Prize for Fiction for Union Street. In 1993 she won the Guardian Fiction Prize for Eye in the Door, and in 1995 she won the Booker Prize for The Ghost Road. Her exciting and compelling writing style often incorporates real historical figures with those she creates.
“When writing about historical characters I try to be as accurate as possible, and in particular not to misrepresent the view they held. With a real historical figure you have to be fair, and this is not an obligation you have in dealing with your own creations, so it is quite different.”