Across The Silent Sea

‘Described in rich, subtle detail.’

A Way Out, And a Way In

‘I love the poems…the sense of looking through a window watching the muted choreography of a silent dance.’

The Oystercatcher Girl

‘… a beautifully understated story of deception and forgiveness, love and redemption.’

The House With the Lilac Shutters

‘This is utterly original story-making of a very high quality, brave in its scope and range.’


‘I was left feeling profoundly moved by the flaws in humans which stain our history.’

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 appeared in Living Orkney. I also review books and local arts events and contribute 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.

Gabrielle Barnby