Xanthi Barker

Xanthi Barker was born in London where she lives, and works in education. Her stories have been published in magazines including Litro and Mslexia, have been performed at Liar’s League, and have been shortlisted for the Fish Prize. She won the 2017 The Short Story Prize and her piece, Paradoxical, was highly commended in the 2018 Spread the Word Life Writing Prize. Her novelette, One Thing, was published by Open Pen.

Xanthi’s father died when she was in her mid twenties, and she could make no sense of her grief for a man who had been absent for most of her life.

Her father, poet Sebastian Barker, left to pursue writing and a new relationship, when Xanthi was a baby. Growing up she had always struggled to reconcile his extravagant affection – a rocking horse crafted from scavenged wood, the endless stream of poems and drawings and letters, conversations that spiralled from the structure of starlight to philosophy to Bruce Springsteen – with the fact that he could not be depended upon for more everyday things. Though theirs was a relationship defined by departures, he always returned, so why should this farewell be any different, or more final?

Will This House Last Forever? is her wholly original memoir about the pain of having to come to terms with a parent’s mortality, the way grief so utterly defies logic, and learning to see the flaws in those we love, and let them go.


We're all going to die, and that's OK

The Dead Parent Club with Julia Samuel