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Wanda Barford was born in Milan, but as a child left Mussolini's Italy with her parents for Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) to escape anti-Jewish persecution. She eventually settled in London, where she studied at the Royal College of Music.
She has been a runner-up in the H. H. Wingate/Jewish Quarterly Poetry Competition, and her first collection, Sweet Wine and Bitter Herbs, was shortlisted for the Jewish Quarterly Literary Prize in 1997. Her second collection, A Moon at the Door, followed in 1999, with a third, Losing, Finding, in 2002, and her latest, What Is the Purpose of Your Visit? in 2006.