Barry Unsworth was born in London. He published 17 novels, and is best known for his historical fiction.
He was shortlisted for the Booker Prize three times, winning once for the 1992 novel Sacred Hunger. In the last years of his life he lived in Perugia, a city in the Umbria region of Italy, with his second wife. His novel After Hannibal is a fictionalised description of his efforts at settlement in the Italian countryside.