Nicola Barker

Born in 1966 in Ely, Man Booker shortlisted novelist Nicola Barker spent much of her childhood on Soweto, before returning to Britain after her parents divorce and attending comprehensive school in Enfield.

Her comic and surreal second novel Small Holdings is set amongst the gardeners of Broomfield Park,

“We’d all worked as gardeners in the park for several years before the whole enterprise was privatised and  group of us – me, Doug, and not forgetting Ray (Big Ray) – formed a partnership and along with our diver Nancy made a successful bid for the contract.”

“Not your Victoria, your Hyde, your Hampstead Heath. It seems small because of its unpretentiousness. Even so, it has pretentions. Used to have a Tudor mansion – black, white, criss crossed beams -stuck wham bam in the middle of it, facing the water, reflected in the water; three little lakes and a round ornamental pond over to the right where kids paddle – contravening the park regulations – in the summer.”

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