I am a lecturer on the MA/MFA in Creative Writing and author of three novels.
I write fiction because I love crafting imaginary worlds, experimenting with language and deepening my knowledge, through travel and research, about places and histories I want to learn more about. My first novel, Sayonara Bar (2005), was set in Japan, and I began writing it while working as an English teacher in Kyoto. My second novel, The Orientalist and the Ghost (2008) is set in Malaysia during the 50’s, and I wrote it to learn more about the country my mother is from. My most recent novel, The Incarnations (2014), is set in contemporary and imperial-era China. While writing it I spent several years living in Beijing and (not very successfully) studying mandarin.
When I am not writing fiction, I am consuming narratives through reading novels, watching films and listening to podcasts. I am endlessly fascinated by stories, fictional or real, that capture the strangeness of being alive.
I studied on an MA in Creative Writing myself, and the support, guidance and feedback I received from my tutors and classmates was pivotal in the writing of my first book. As a teacher, I hope to create a workshop environment similar to the one I experienced: friendly, inclusive, positive, inspiring and constructive. I believe that the close reading, critiquing and discussion of other writers’ fiction is an invaluable means of illuminating the fiction writing process, and of strengthening your editing skills in relation to your own work.
MA, Novel Writing, The University of Manchester (2004)
BA, Philosophy and Politics, The University of Leeds (2000)
S. Barker (2016). The Incarnations. Simon and Schuster.