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CUP book

The Seven Lives of Lady Barker

20 November 2023

'The Seven Lives of Lady Barker' by Betty Gilderdale is a compelling biography of a Victorian woman who lived in England, India, New Zealand, South Africa, Mauritius, Australia, and Trinidad. Learn more and get a copy.


July 2009
$45 (ebook $19.99)
360pp, Paperback
228 x 152mm, B&W photos & illustrations throughout
ISBN 978-1-877257-81-0

This compelling biography of Lady Mary Anne Barker is a fascinating account of a Victorian woman who, through the course of her life, lived in England, India, New Zealand, South Africa, Mauritius, Australia and Trinidad.

Betty Gilderdale captures the rich variety of Lady Barker's life, from military outposts in India, to pioneer adventure in rural Canterbury. Momentous historical events of the period, such as the Indian Mutiny (Revolt) and the Zulu Wars, all directly impacted upon her personal life and resulted in huge domestic upheavals.

The Seven Lives of Lady Barker

Lady Barker wrote books for children and adults based upon her experiences, and is perhaps best known for Station Life in New Zealand, republished by Vintage in 2000.

The Seven Lives of Lady Barker is a full account of the rich and turbulent life of this extraordinary woman.

'This is a beautifully written and produced book about a fascinating subject.' Vicki Price, Daily News

'… this biography will continue to be a valuable and readable companion volume.' Jean Garner, Weekend Press

Betty Gilderdale has an Honours degree in English from London University. Since coming to New Zealand in 1967 she has taught at Colleges of Education and at the Continuing Education Department of the University of Auckland. She had her own review column in the New Zealand Herald for 25 years.

Her 1982 book A Seachange: 145 years of New Zealand junior fiction won the PEN Best First Book Award, and she has since been a contributor to The Oxford History of New Zealand Literature (ed. Terry Sturm) and The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, as well as to numerous overseas publications.

Like Lady Barker, Betty Gilderdale has written books for adults and for children. Her best-known children’s book is The Little Yellow Digger and its sequels. Her husband, Alan Gilderdale, did the pictures.

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