There is a large dose of autobiography in Frankie & Stankie, which deals with two sisters growing up in South Africa before one emigrates to England: Trapido was raised in Durban and now lives in Oxford.
Frankie & Stankie is a portrait of apartheid-era South African society as well as of two sisters from a politically liberal family (Trapido’s parents were dissident academics). Real people - Nelson Mandela, Joe Slovo, Hendrik Verwoerd - appear among the fictional characters and the book narrates a political as well as a personal awakening. Despite emigrating to the UK in 1963, Trapido feels herself to be ‘really just an anthropological observer in England’. She describes her writing process as ‘audial’, in that she hears her story and characters before she writes them.