Barbara Trapido was born in 1941 in Cape Town but raised in Durban. She studied at the University of Natal, gaining a BA in 1963, before emigrating to London. After many years teaching she became a full time writer in 1970. Trapido has published seven novels, three of which have been nominated for the Whitbread Prize. The semi-autobiographical Frankie & Stankie deals with growing up white under apartheid and gained a great deal of critical attention, being longlisted for the Booker prize.
In her assessment of Trapido's works, Sue Dickman, noted the following:
There are many reasons why Trapido is not just critically praised but held so dearly by her many loyal readers. She’s a whiz at dialogue and detail. She’s laugh-out-loud funny. Her books are unexpected, heart-filled, buoyant. At the same time, Trapido is both a generous writer and a restrained one. I believe that it’s that combination of emotional restraint and generosity of spirit that makes her books so satisfying to read.
Trapido currently lives with her family in Oxford.
Extract from Frankie & Stankie
So Jenny and Dinah start university under the shadow of the State of Emergency, which lasts through most of their first year. Plus, the army have occupied the campus, because it provides a perfect view of Cato Manor, the black township just below Dinah's house. Right then - from the vantage point of the library - Jenny and Dinah can see the men of Cato Manor surging out of the township and heading for Durban's main police station. Their aim is to demand the release of arrested leaders - and they're heading out in their thousands. Some are pouring out through Dinah's mum's unfenced garden where she's alone drinking coffee under her avocado tree. For a moment her heart is in her mouth at the sight of a hundred Zulu males who have armed themselves with stout sticks. But they greet her in a friendly manner, fists raised in the ANC salute, and Dinah's mum, who is shy about such gestures, gives them a girly little wave instead.
Brother of the More Famous Jack (1982)
Noah's Ark (1984)
Temples of Delight (1990)
The Travelling Hornplayer (1998)
Frankie & Stankie (2003)
Sex & Stravinsky (2010)