Barbara Olive Smith

About Me... 


Born in Bristol in 1926, I was the youngest of six children. I grew up during the war years and survived the bombing, despite the direct hit on my parent’s house.

After my marriage in 1948, I sailed from Dartmouth on a cargo ship to the Gold Coast to join my husband, an Agricultural Officer in the Colonial Service.


I had three children over the ten year period we lived there, during which, the colony struggled for independence and emerged as Ghana.


In 1958 my husband was transferred to Mauritius and in April of 1960 we experienced the devastating cyclone “Carol” - the worst in the island’s history. 


After three years in Mauritius, my husband left the Colonial Service and we moved back to West Africa.  There followed eight years in Nigeria, including the period of the Biafran war.

East Africa was my next home where I lived in Kenya for three years, in Chemelil and Mumias.


Surabaja in Indonesia was home for one year before my husband was posted to London.


We continued to travel as his work took him to Papua New Guinea, Sri-Lanka, Brazil and the Philippines – indeed wherever in the world that sugar is grown.


After nearly forty years of a wonderful marriage I was widowed and had to start a new life. I attended courses on creative writing including novel writing courses at Brazier’s College, Ruskin College, Reading University and Oxford University Summer School.


I started The Thames Valley Writers’ Circle in 1993, details of which are given on the TVWC page.


Apart from Listen to the Drums, and Of Doubtful Loyalty, I have written many short stories which have been published in Writers' Magazine, New Writer, Yours, My Weekly and The Countryman. I have also won several awards for my short stories, poems and articles.


I do not much like housework.  I find it repetitive and boring.  I do the dusting and as soon as my back is turned it comes back.  A quick Hoover round if I’m expecting visitors seems perfectly acceptable. I’m not over-fond of spiders but I can live with them, provided they are not too big.