Elspeth Barker is a novelist and journalist. She was born in 1940 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Her first husband was the poet George Barker by whom she had five children, including the novelist Raffaella Barker. In 2007 she married the writer Bill Troop.
She was educated in Scotland and at Oxford. Her novel O Caledonia won four awards and was shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize. She has reviewed extensively and written features for the Independent on Sunday, Guardian, Sunday Times, Observer, LRB, TLS, Harpers & Queen, Scotland on Sunday, Country Living, Vogue, etc. She edited the anthology Loss for Dent/Orion in 1997. Since 1992 she has worked as tutor and lecturer in creative writing at Norwich School of Art (MA and BA), and has tutored on over a dozen Arvon courses as well as other writing courses in the UK, Europe, and US. She has published short stories in numerous anthologies and was visiting professor of fiction at Kansas University in 1999. She has read and lectured at festivals and universities around the world. For three years she was a judge for the McKitterick and Sagittarius prizes. She is currently finishing a novel for Penguin and has been writing for Country Illustrated and The Literary Review.