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Stark Class (Year 6)

Freya Stark DBE

Dame Freya Stark DBE was a European explorer and travel writer who is noted for travel writing in which she described local history and culture as well as everyday life. Many of her trips were to remote areas in Turkey and the Middle East where at the time few Europeans, particularly women, had traveled before. 


Stark was born in 1893 in Paris, where her parents were studying art. Her mother, Flora, was of English, French, German, and Polish descent. Her father, Robert, was an English painter from Devon. Stark had no formal education as a child, but was was often ill and confined to the house, so she found an outlet in reading. She moved about with her artist parents and learned French, German, and Italian before she entered the University of London in 1912. After working as a nurse in Italy during World War I, she returned to London to attend the School of Oriental Studies.


Stark traveled extensively in the Middle East, Turkey, Greece, and Italy, where she made her home. In her writing, Stark combined practical travel tips with an entertaining commentary on the people, places, customs, and history. In 1972, she was made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE). 


Find out more about Freya Stark here: Freya Stark