Born in Manchester, author Jen Barclay moved to Saddleworth as a child and grew up with an innate sense of adventure and travel.
Her childhood holidays in Greece first sparked her interest in the Hellenic culture and she went on to study Ancient Greek to A-Level, followed by English Language and Literature at Oxford University.
After graduating, Jen taught English in Athens for a year and spent three months living and working on the beautiful island of Santorini. She then worked in publishing in Toronto for 10 years spending the last few of these in the Greek district of the city, the Danforth. A job as a freelance editor in France was next on the list for free-spirited Jen, followed by 7 years as an editorial director back in England before she returned to Greece in 2011 to live full-time on the island of Tilos in the Dodecanese, working from home there as a writer and editor.
Her critically acclaimed novel Falling in Honey: Life and Love on a Greek Island tells the story of Jen’s experiences in Tilos. The book has been featured in Heat magazine’s Top 5 Books, the Mail on Sunday’s You magazine and the Daily Express, and reached #16 in Travel Writing on Amazon.co.uk. It has been published in the UK, US and Canada, Poland, Bulgaria and Latvia, and is also available as an audiobook.
Her previous book Meeting Mr Kim: Or How I Went to Korea and Learned to Love Kimchi depicts Jen’s exploration of South Korea. She also compiled The Traveller’s Friend and The Walker’s Friend under the pseudonym Jude Palmer as part of a gift-book series, and co-edited AWOL: Tales for Travel-inspired Minds.
Jen is currently working on a new book about her first couple of years trying to become part of the small Greek island community in Tilos.
We have featured Jen in both our Non-fiction and Travel sections as her books cover a wide variety of topics.
You can follow Jen on various social networking sites including:
FALLING IN HONEY
One difficult winter when her love life falls apart (and so does she), Jen decides on Three Gifts to Self. Gift One and Two are reducing her workload and staying away from relationships for a while. Gift Three, the most important, is a month alone on a tiny, wild Greek island. It’s a chance to find another kind of contentment: one that comes from the sun and the sea, from the aroma of herbs on the mountains and holding an octopus in your hands. She decides to act on her dream of staying for longer . because life is too short not to reach out for what makes us happy. But just when everything is falling into place again, the strangest thing happens. Falling in Honey is an honest, mouth-watering mix of comedy and romance, and an unforgettable journey from heartbreak to happiness.
MEETING MR KIM
The world knows more about secret North Korea than the free society of the South. As a peace summit heralded a new era for a country divided for 50 years, Jennifer Barclay searched for the spirit of South Korea, discovering a land full of passion, tradition and spirituality, good humour and great food. Jen quit her high-pressure job and followed her musician boyfriend to South Korea, where his band had a contract to play funk at a luxury hotel. But life in Seoul was lonely and bewildering. Desperate to connect with Korean life and the people, she said goodbye to the capital and set off alone to explore the country. With patience and determination she found her way to ancient tombs and Buddhist temples, strangers’ homes and forest-covered mountains, where people’s kindness and pride in their culture began to work magic. They were on a mission to ensure she left with happy memories – and perhaps a new set of values.
THE TRAVELLER’S FRIEND
What could be better than the simple thrills of taking off for the unknown, or of revisiting a beloved bolthole to replenish the spirits? Celebrate the open road with this miscellany of trivia and beautiful prose, interspersed with practical advice on everything from packing to photography.
AWOL: TALES FOR TRAVEL-INSPIRED MINDS
For those who dream of having no fixed address, and those happy simply to read about it, AWOL is filled with entertaining, enriching and edifying stories of people getting away from the familiar. AWOL: Tales for Travel-Inspired Minds is dedicated to the perspectives we gain when away from our regular circumstances.