Born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1955, Tracy Barrett grew up mainly in the state of New York in a town just outside of New York City that also fostered various other authors, including Jean Fritz. Although she did well in school and received exceptionally good grades in English, Barrett did not consider becoming an author because her sense of her own ability as a writer was dimmed and discouraged by all of the wonderfully written books that she frequently read.
She studied Classics-Archaeology, the subject in which she holds her Bachelor's Degree with honors, at Brown University in New England. Barrett also possesses a Masters Degree and a Ph.D. in Medieval Italian Literature from the University of California, Berkeley. During graduate school, Barrett discovered her love of research, and this led her to writing nonfiction. Once, while researching a subject related to teaching, she stumbled upon, and was intriqued by, the tale of Anna Comnena, a Byzantine princess. Barrett decided to attempt writing a story about the princess' life, and the following year, Anna of Byzantium, her most popular work, was published.
After having taught writing and literature for children at various institutes, Barrett now heads courses in Italian, Women's Studies, and Humanities at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Barrett has a husband, a grown daughter, a teenage son, three dogs, and a cat, and she enjoys, in addition to writing, such pasttimes as traveling, knitting, and skydiving.
Her books include:
- Nat Turner and the Slave Revolt, 1993
- Harpers Ferry: The Story of John Brown's Raid, 1993
- Growing Up in Colonial America, 1995
- Virginia, in series "Celebrate the States," 1997 (2nd edition 2005)
- Tennessee, in series "Celebrate the States," 1998 (2nd edition 2006)
- Kidding Around Nashville, 1998
- Kentucky, in series "Celebrate the States," 1999
- Anna of Byzantium, 1999
- The Trail of Tears: An American Tragedy, 2000
- Six entries in the multi-volume encyclopedia Women in World History, Yorkin Publications, 2000
- "The Children's Crusade," AppleSeeds Magazine, December 2001
- Cold in Summer, 2003
- The Ancient Greek World, in series "The World in Ancient Times," 2004 (with Jennifer Roberts)
- The Ancient Chinese World, in series "The World in Ancient Times," 2005 (with Terry Kleeman)
- On Etruscan Time, 2005
- The Sherlock Files, in press
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