Hello and welcome! If you want to know a bit about me, you’re on the right page.
I grew up in the UK, on the wild Atlantic coast of Cornwall. The ocean and the beach still feel like home to me. After studying languages in London and a postgraduate year in Exeter, I began teaching in Devon. Two landlocked decades in England’s midlands followed, a MA in Education and a move to a regional role implementing the first National Curriculum in English schools. After working across the east of England as a regional director for the government’s new literacy strategy, and juggling a national responsibility for the use of technology in teaching English, I moved to Australia’s far southwest in 2001. It felt like coming home. I can hear the ocean again.
Creating a native garden and working at our business in Margaret River kept me busy, in between writing and travelling internationally as a trainer and consultant on curriculum innovation. It was a challenging and exciting time. I learned a lot from teachers, students and school principals, in places as diverse as Hong Kong and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. At home, I dug and planted and watered and watched, learning to love the indigenous plants as well as the animals and birds who live here. When I started investigating local history, old passions soon resurfaced — research, reading, writing.
In 2011, I decided to write full-time. I’d written widely in education publishing and done a lot of editing but I was entering new territory. In 2012, my first short story was published after winning the inaugural Regional Writers’ award in the Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival competition. That was a confidence booster. In 2015, my biography of 19th century botanist and settler, Georgiana Molloy, was self-published in Western Australia and published a year later by Pan Macmillan in the Picador imprint. http://www.panmacmillan.com.au/author/bernice-barry
Deciding to give all my time to writing was a good move. I enjoy every moment of being an author, especially meeting readers and hearing from them. Their support is a wonderful lifeline I hadn’t expected. I’m busy writing the kind of novel I enjoy reading, fiction based on historical research, names that have disappeared into the past. It’s a story linked to real lives, things that happened a long time ago. Things that still matter.