With my family in Portugal, Dec. '07. At 5'10" I'm not used to feeling short, but these people tower over me!

I wrote my doctoral dissertation on the medieval Italian poet Cecco Angiolieri.

My first day of school with my best friend, Cathy. She's still a good friend.

With two of the most important people in my life, Andy and Laura.

Here we are again, in high school.

In Sicily during my college year in Italy.

In freefall over Lodi, California

About the Author . . .


Tracy Barrett is the author of numerous books and magazine articles for young readers.

She holds a Bachelor's Degree with honors in Classics-Archaeology from Brown University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Medieval Italian Literature from the University of California, Berkeley. Her scholarly interests in the ancient and medieval worlds overlap in her fiction and nonfiction works.

A grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to study medieval women writers led to the writing of her award-winning young-adult novel, Anna of Byzantium (Delacorte). Her most recent publications are Dark of the Moon (Harcourt) a YA retelling of the myth of the minotaur, King of Ithaka, a YA novel based on Homer's Odyssey; and the popular middle-grade series The Sherlock Files (both Henry Holt).

From 1999 to 2009 Tracy Barrett was the Regional Advisor for the Midsouth (Tennessee and Kentucky) with the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. She is now SCBWI's Regional Advisor Coordinator.

Presiding over a Q&A session at the SCBWI-Midsouth conference
photo by Joanne Bjordahl

Tracy has taught courses on writing for children and on children's literature at various institutions and frequently makes presentations to groups of students, librarians, teachers, and others.

For an example of Tracy's presentations at writers' conferences, please see this article from Clarksville Online.

She recently resigned from Vanderbilt University, where she taught Italian, Women's Studies, English, and Humanities. Click here and here for articles about her double life as professor and writer.

She occasionally manages to combine her two "lives" as in her presentation at a conference on the Classics in children's literature in Wales in July, 2009.


More about me
I often get letters asking for more information for school reports. Here is the biographical information that is most often requested:

I was born in 1955 in Cleveland, Ohio, and grew up mostly in New York state. I went to college in New England and graduate school in California.

The first book I ever read by myself was called Little Bobo and His Blue Jacket. I still have it. I learned to read when I was three, but I know now that this doesn't mean much. My brother didn't really read until he was seven, and now he reads more and remembers it better than I do.

My favorite books when I was growing up were Charlotte's Web; The Phantom Tollbooth; The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; The Return of the Twelves; The Jungle Book; The Princess and the Goblin; Five Children and It; Mrs. Mike; Pippi Longstocking; Hitty, Her First Hundred Years; The Secret Garden; the first half of The Once and Future King; Emily of New Moon, poems by William Blake, Ogden Nash, and especially Don Marquis.

As I grew older, my favorites included Kristin Lavransdatter, the second half of The Once and Future King, A Death in the Family, anything by Charles Dickens, especially Bleak House and A Tale of Two Cities, poems by John Donne, essays by E.B. White (the author of Charlotte's Web), and anything by Jane Austen, James Thurber, and George Eliot.

I have a husband, a grown daughter and son, an old Jack Russell terrier and a new puppy! He's a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and is the cutest thing ever born.


I taught Italian and other subjects at Vanderbilt University for many years, and I like to travel, especially to Italy, and especially with my family. My other hobby is knitting. I used to skydive (that's how I met my husband—on the ground, not in the air!) and I recently made a skydive as part of research for a novel I'm writing.

If you have any questions that I haven't answered here or in the interview on the Writing page, you can write to me at TracyTBarrett@​yahoo.com. Please have minors write to me from a parent's or teacher's email account. You can also write to me at P.O. Box 120164, Nashville, TN 37212. If you use surface mail and want a reply, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope. If you're writing from outside the U.S., please enclose a self-addressed envelope and an International Reply Coupon. I always answer my mail, but I won't do your homework, so please don't ask the theme of one of my books, or ask me to find similes and metaphors, or to tell you anything else that your teacher wants you to figure out on your own!

Selected works. Click on a title to read reviews!

Fiction for Young Readers
Sometimes you don't know what really happened until you hear the other side of the story.
This tale of love, faith, and betrayal retells the myth of the minotaur as never before.
Homer's Odyssey as told by Telemachos, the son of Odysseus
Book 4 of The Sherlock Files
Book 3 of The Sherlock Files
Book 2 of The Sherlock Files
Book 1 of The Sherlock Files
Will Hector be able to right an ancient wrong?
Is helping a mysterious new friend worth the risk?
Intrigue in the world of medieval Byzantium

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