Pat Barker


The Silence of the Girls


Pat Barker’s reimagining of The Iliad turns its back on the usual male-centric gaze of the Trojan War to give voice to the women of the story. When her city falls to the Greeks, Briseis is transformed from queen to captive and awarded to the warrior Achilles as a prize of war. As Barker charts the journey of this sometime-queen through the chaos of the Greek encampment, she also offers a powerful message about who are allowed to tell their own stories.

Pat Barker was born in Yorkshire and began her literary career in her forties, when she took a short writing course taught by Angela Carter. Encouraged by Carter to continue writing and exploring the lives of working-class women, she sent her fiction out to publishers. Thirty-five years later, she has published fifteen novels, including her masterful Regeneration Trilogy, been made a CBE for services to literature and won awards including the Guardian Fiction Prize and the UK’s highest literary honour, the Booker Prize. She lives in Durham and her latest novel is The Silence of the Girls.