Elsa Care Barker was born in London, the daughter of Frederick Charles Barker, composer and conductor, and Lydia Care, also a musician, who was leading contralto at the Carl Rosa Opera Company.
Educated in Highgate Hill (where she wore, from the age of five, a 'Votes for Women' button) and at the North London Collegiate School for Girls, she came to Girton with an exhibition to read Modern Languages in 1924. She returned to Girton as a College Supervisor in German, 1932-35.
In 1926 Elsa Barker married Jalal Malik, a Trinity student whom she had met whilst an undergraduate. She was encouraged by him to read law and she was called to the Bar circa 1934. During the Second World War she was the head of the Enforcement Division of the Ministry of Food, where she remained until 1952.
Elsa Malik's main ambition was to be a successful playwright. She wrote a number of plays, the first of which was accepted for London production and also by the Festival Theatre in Cambridge but was banned by the Lord Chamberlain. It was later produced by the Arts Theatre Club. She wrote several more plays (eight in total?): one was performed at Q Theatre, Kew, circa 1954, and another at the Ultimate, High Wycombe, circa 1957.
Elsa Malik also taught at the City of London School for Girls, circa 1955 - 1956. She learnt to fly at the age of 55 and gained a pilot's licence circa 1960.
Elsa Malik died on June 1st 2005, just short of her 100th birthday. [Biographical details drawn from the Girton Register, from Omar Malik's biography of E M at GCAS 2/6/2/3/8, and from O M's obituary of E M in the Girton Review 2005.]
The papers listed here comprise the manuscripts of four of Elsa Malik's plays, together with biographical information.
1011/44 - Donated 25 August 2011 by Omar Malik, son of Elsa Malik.