About The Author

Patricia Duncker was born and grew up in Jamaica, an island that still haunts her imagination, and to which she never returned after she was sent to boarding school in England. She spent a year working in Germany before she went up to Newnham College, Cambridge, where she read English. She went on to do graduate work at St Hugh's College, Oxford, and completed her doctorate on aspects of English and German Romanticism. She has spent a good part of her life travelling and has lived and worked in Germany and in France, where she still spends part of the year. She taught writing and 19th and 20th century literature in the Department of English at the University of Aberystwyth in Wales from 1991 until 2002, when she was appointed Professor of Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. She taught the MA in Creative Writing (Prose Fiction) alongside fellow novelists Andrew Cowan, Paul Magrs and Michèle Roberts. From 2007-2015 she worked as Professor of Contemporary Literature in the Department of English, American Studies and Creative Writing at the University of Manchester. She is now Professor Emeritus in her former Department. Her first novel, Hallucinating Foucault (1996), won the Dillons First Fiction Award and the McKitterick Prize, and was shortlisted for the Mind Book of the Year Award, the IMPAC award and has been translated into fourteen languages. She is the author of four further novels, James Miranda Barry (1999), The Deadly Space Between (2002) Miss Webster and Chérif (2006) shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize 2007. Her fifth novel, The Strange Case of the Composer and his Judge (Bloomsbury, 2010), was shortlisted for the CWA Golden Dagger award for the Best Crime Novel of the Year 2010. She has also written two collections of short fiction, Monsieur Shoushana's Lemon Trees (1997), shortlisted for the Macmillan Silver Pen Award, and a sequence of sinister tales, Seven Tales of Sex and Death (2003). Her critical work includes Sisters and Strangers: An Introduction to Contemporary Feminist Fiction (Blackwell, 1992) and a collection of essays on writing and contemporary literature, Writing on the Wall (Rivers Oram and Pandora, 2002). She has published many literary essays and scholarly articles and co-edited several collections of short fiction for Honno, the Welsh Women's Press, the most recent of which is Safe World Gone (Honno, 2007). 

Biography and Interviews


Patricia went to school at Bedales in Hampshire and remembered her time there for the alumni website.


Replying to Joe

Joe Evans from the Upper Sixth at Wolverhampton Grammar School asked Patricia five questions about her writing (October 2012). Read more...

Madeira Literary Festival

Patricia was interviewed for the festival magazine in February 2015. Read more...

Manchester University

Patricia talks about lecturing at Manchester where she worked as Professor of Contemporary Literature from 2007-2015. Read more...

Links to Interviews and Features

Ten Things that shape my writing

Patricia talks about Sophie and the Sibyl and more on the Female First website (July 2016)

Bloomsbury author pages (publisher's website)

Interview in The Guardian newspaper (August 2000)

Interview in Spike Magazine (2003)

Interview on BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour (March 2010)

All Rights Reserved. Patricia Duncker 2024