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New Release and Author Interview with Ros Barber

Updated: Jun 16, 2023

Check out the amazing part 1 and 2 of the author interview with historian and Marlovian, Ros Barber, the author of the award-winning novel "The Marlowe Papers" and her new book releasing today - "Nothing Becoming"

Book Blurb:

How does a girl become a pirate? Infamous 18th-century pirate Mary Read tells the story of her childhood in this compelling novel by award-winning author Ros Barber.

Praise for The Marlowe Papers (Sceptre / St.Martin's)

(Winner of the Desmond Elliott Prize and the Author’s Club Best First Novel Award, Longlisted: for theWomen’s Fiction Prize.)

"Themes of identity and self-esteem, of truth and loyalty, give substance to Barber's enthralling plot in a work that combines historical erudition with a sharply satisfying read. Marlowe's passion infects the page; Barber's skill draws the fever." - The Independent

"a remarkable book."

The New York Times

"This rich and charmingly playful work avoids the potential for whimsy inherent in such an undertaking. The thrill at reimagining the events and era comes through wave after wave in Barber’s blank verse."

- The Telegraph

"The best read, so far, this year." - The Express

"An accomplished writer, she composes effective blank verse and is playful with form: her research into Marlowe's documented life forms a series of gripping flashbacks, and her introduction to a cast of characters from the theatre and the court is deft" - Times Literary Supplement

"the Marlowe Papers thunders along like an episode of some Elizabethan 24." - Literary Review

"With the screw-tightening verve of a great thriller and the romantic pull of Renaissance poetry, the novel — which purports that Marlowe is the true author of William Shakespeare’s legendary oeuvre — is a gripping, lyrical, most unlikely page-turner." - American Way

Praise for Devotion (Oneworld, 2015)

(Longlisted: Encore Award 2015. Featured on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour.)

"compelling... a novel so animated with fascinating, troubling ideas."

- The Guardian

"The focus may be on the eternal questions but it is Barber’s ability to capture the small details of humanity that makes Devotion worth the read." - The Financial Times

"Intelligent, poetic writing ... Barber weaves together the struggles of these complex characters with taut, high-stakes encounters in episodic chapters, making this a pacy novel in spite of the weighty subject matter; and barely a word is misplaced." - Times Literary Supplement

"Barber’s prose is compelling" - The Independent

“Barber's sensational premise delivers an unexpectedly piercing exploration of loss and different kinds of faith.” - Kirkus

“Barber's poetic prose is a sheer pleasure to read, and because of her skill, the book is a rewarding meditation on the tragedies that motivate or destroy a person's reasons for living.” - Publishers’ Weekly

From the back cover:

At the gallows in Port Royal, Jamaica, the crew of Calico Jack is about to be hanged. One of them holds a secret that will delay her execution. But how did she get there?

Twenty-five years earlier in Devon, England, a child known as ‘Tyke’ is plotting with her eight-year-old brother to kill the Dutch sailor who raped their mother. When the plan goes wrong, Tyke is knocked unconscious, and her brother disappears. In London, disguised as a boy, she soon discovers deceit is her only path to freedom. Set in Brixham and London in the early years of the 18th century, and told by the feisty heroine herself, the origin story of Mary Read is the powerful tale of one girl’s quest for independence.

Author Bio:

Ros Barber was born in Washington D.C, USA, of British parents, and grew up in Colchester, England. She now lives in Brighton, Sussex.


Debut novel (in verse) The Marlowe Papers (2012) - winner of the Desmond Elliott Prize 2013, joint winner of the Author's Club Best First Novel Award 2013, long-listed for the 2013 Women's Fiction Prize (formerly the Orange Prize). Second novel, Devotion (2015), short-listed for the Encore Award 2015. Second collection of poems, Material (2008) was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation; the title poem features in Faber's "Poems of the Decade" and is now on the A/AS-level syllabus in the UK. Editor and co-author of 30-Second Shakespeare (UK) / Know-it-All Shakespeare (US).

Find me on Twitter @rosbarber, and on Facebook or at my website, where I blog from time to time.


Book Blurb:

Winner of the 2013 Desmond Elliott Prize

Longlisted for the 2013 Women's Prize for Fiction

You're the author of the greatest plays of all time.

But nobody knows.

And if it gets out, you're dead.

On May 30, 1593, a celebrated young playwright was killed in a tavern brawl in London. That, at least, was the official version. Now Christopher Marlowe reveals the truth: that his "death" was an elaborate ruse to avoid a conviction of heresy; that he was spirited across the English Channel to live on in lonely exile; that he continued to write plays and poetry, hiding behind the name of a colorless man from Stratford—one William Shakespeare.

With the grip of a thriller and the emotional force of a sonnet, this remarkable novel in verse gives voice to a man who was brilliant, passionate, and mercurial. A cobbler's son who counted nobles among his friends, a spy in the Queen's service, a fickle lover and a declared religious skeptic, Christopher Marlowe always courted trouble. In this memoir, love letter, confession, and settling of accounts, Ros Barber brings Christopher Marlowe and his era to vivid life in The Marlowe Papers.

Book Buy Link:


Author Interview, Part One:

Author Interview, Part Two:

Read Ros Barber's article in the latest issue of the Historical Times magazine - "Saving Marlowe" by clicking on the cover below.


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