Diana Darke started her career working for the British Government’s General Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Cheltenham and went on to specialise in the Middle East for more than thirty years. Along the way she authored 16 acclaimed guides to the region, including Bradt’s Syria, Eastern Turkey and Oman, and is now becoming well known as an authority on Syria, contributing to several national newspapers.
In 2005 she bought a semi-derelict courtyard house in Old Damascus and spent three years restoring it with the help of Syrian craftsmen.
With her Damascus house in use as a refuge for displaced friends since September 2012, Darke’s links with Syria are deep and ongoing. She has been back six times in recent years began and remains actively committed to helping Syrians achieve a better future. Her new book My House in Damascus has been described in a review for the Times Literary Supplement as having ‘the pace of a novel and the colour of the best travel writing… a learned encyclopaedia of Syrian history, of the Arabs and their language and traditions, of Islamic art and architecture, and more’.