Early career

I began writing fiction after relocating to New Zealand in 2007. I moved back to the UK in 2010 and live with my husband and four children in Orkney, Scotland. At the moment I’m working on an MLitt at the University of the Highlands and Islands.

As well as short stories I write poetry and children’s fiction and have written several novels. My themes range from simple stories about relationships to dystopian visions of the future. I have written editorials for ‘Writing Orkney’ a selection of writing from the Stromness Writing Group that appears in Living Orkney– several of my poems have also crept into the pages. I also review books and local arts events and have contributed to Mirmir’s Well for the Orcadian Newspaper.

My short stories Hostel and Widow Kharms’ Guesthouse have appeared in Northwords Now and a selection of my poetry from the St Magnus International Festival was published by the George Mackay Brown Fellowship in ‘Waiting for The Tide.’ I also contributed my poem Fisher of Song to the St Magnus International Festival 40th Anniversary Programme.

Various pieces of my poetry and prose are included in Come Sit at Our Table , No Ordinary Journey and Rose Loukoumi all of which are collections of work by the Stromness Writing Group.

I am also a contributor to ‘Kirkwall Visions, Kirkwall Voices,’ a creative response to the city of Kirkwall supported by the Orkney Blide Trust. 

My early career was in science. After receiving a first in Human Sciences at Wadham College I gained a D.Phil from Oxford University in 2003 for research into the molecular basis of autism. I have numerous scientific publications on this topic which continues to be investigated by my old laboratory at The Welcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics.

The Oystercatcher Girl was published in April 2017 and my collection The House With the Lilac Shutters and other stories was released in 2015, both are published by Thunderpoint.

Otago Peninsula, New Zealand. Gabrielle Barnby writing
Newark Bay, Orkney by Gabrielle Barnby

Published  Work

Kenning the Land, Gabrielle Barnby, Stromness Writers Group, Old Norse, Viking, Orkney, Hannah Burrows, University Aberdeen, Stornaway Writers' Circle

Kenning the Land –  Arts & Humanities Research Council, 2019.

Peace- Land , Gabrielle Barnby, Scapa Flow, poem, Scuttling, German Fleet, Orkney, 1919.

Peace-Land – The Orcadian Press, 2019.

The Oystercatcher Girl, Gabrielle Barnby, Orkney, love, forgiveness, redemption, Thunderpoint, fiction, debut novel.

The Oystercatcher Girl –ThunderPoint press 2017.

The house with the lilac shutters

The House with the Lilac Shutters  – ThunderPoint Press, 2015.

Flash Fiction: Northwords Now

Living Orkney, Gabrielle Barnby, Stromness Writing Group, poems, prose, flash fiction, editorials

Writing Orkney: editorials, poetry and prose – Living Orkney.

Northwords Now, Gabrielle Barnby, Widow Kharms' Guesthouse. Russian absurdist, short story

Widow Kharms’ Guesthouse Northwords Now, Autumn, 2016.

Stromness, acrostic, Gabrielle Barnby, Orkney, Scottish, Islands, Northlight Gallery, 200

Stromness Street Names Acrostic Poems, Stromness Writing Group, 2017.

No Ordinary Journey

No Ordinary Journey – Stromness Writing Group, Graham Place Press, 2014.

Come sit at our table

Come Sit at Our Table – Stromness Writing Group, Graham Place Press, 2015.

Rose Loukoumi

Rose Loukoumi – Stromness Writing Group, Graham Place Press, 2013.

Blide Trust

Kirkwall Visions, Kirkwall Voices. An exploration in words and pictures. – Orkney Blide Trust, Braga Press, 2014.

Northwards now - issue 29

Hostel – Northwords Now, Jan 2014.

Word Ribbons, creative writing from young Orkney writers, ed Gabrielle Barnby, Amber Connolly

Word Ribbons – creative writing from young Orkney writers, ed Gabrielle Barnby and Amber Connolly, 2017.


Spring Wark by Wirdsmit. A collection of children’s writing from Orkney.

Hen Harrier, Wirdsmit, Gabrielle Barnby

Hen Harrier. Poems and pictures about the birds by Wirdsmit and others.

Death In April Creek, Helena Cooke, Gabrielle Barnby, pen name, Orkney, New Zealand, thriller, Neverton, Babette Stevenson.

Death In April Creek  – Neverton Press, 2020. Released under pen name Helena Cooke.