The South Bank Show

Pat Barker

Series 1 - Episode 2 Pat Barker



Pat Barker describes her early life in Stockton-on-Tees as being “a good childhood for a writer”, in that it gave her the wherewithal to create characters that can endure great hardship. In such novels as Union Street and Regeneration she gave voice to a generation that suffered peacetime and wartime trauma.

Here, she tells Melvyn Bragg about her methods, her duty to be fair when depicting real people and why she sees herself as “a northern, working-class female bastard.”


Melvyn Bragg profiles author Pat Barker, who has become renowned for her novels about the First World War, including the Regeneration trilogy and her latest book Toby's Room, which views the conflict from the perspective of a group of former art students. She discusses her childhood in Middlesbrough and Stockton-on-Tees, and explains how she has drawn inspiration from war artists and poets including Paul Nash, Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. She also visits the Royal College of Surgeons to learn about the physical traumas of battle.