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. From 1992 to 2010 she worked as tutor and lecturer in creative writing at Norwich School of Art and Design (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 writing for The Literary Review.