Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Beatle People: Hunter Davies

Edward Hunter Davies (born 7 January 1936) is a prolific British author, journalist and broadcaster, perhaps best known for writing the only authorized biography of The Beatles.

Early life

Davies was born in Johnstone in Scotland to Scottish parents. He considers himself Scottish. For 4 years his family lived in Dumfries until Davies was aged 11. Davies has frequently quoted his boyhood hero as being football center-forward, Billy Houliston, of Davies' then local team, Queen of the South.

His family moved to Carlisle when Davies was 11 and he attended the Creighton School in the city. Davies lived in Carlisle until he moved to study at university. During this time his father, who was a former RAF pay clerk, developed multiple sclerosis and had to retire on medical grounds from a civil service career. Davies joined the sixth form at Carlisle Grammar School and was awarded a place at University College, Durham to read for an Honours Degree in History, but after his first year he switched to a general arts course. He gained his first writing experience as a student, contributing to the university newspaper, Palatinate. However after completing his degree course he stayed on at Durham for another year to gain a teaching diploma.

Writing career

After he left university Davies worked as a journalist and in 1965 he wrote the novel Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush that was quickly made into a film. He raised the idea of a biography of The Beatles with Paul McCartney when he met him to discuss the possibility of providing the theme song for the film. McCartney liked the idea of the book and advised him to obtain the approval of Brian Epstein. He agreed to it and the resulting authorized biography was published in 1968. John Lennon mentioned in his 1971 Rolling Stone interview that he felt the book was "bullshit."

In 1972 he wrote what is widely regarded as one of the best ever books about football, The Glory Game, a behind the scenes portrait of Tottenham Hotspur. He also wrote a wry column in Punch called "Father's Day". In 1974 he was sent by the Sunday Times to look at a comprehensive school in action. He wrote three articles and then stayed on at the school – Creighton School in Muswell Hill, North London, now part of Fortismere School – to watch and study through a year in its life. The result was a book, the Creighton Report, published in 1976.

Davies has also written a biography of the hill walker Alfred Wainwright, and many works about the topography and history of the Lake District.

In children's literature, he has written the "Ossie," "Flossie Teacake" and "Snotty Bumstead" series of novels.

As a ghostwriter, he has worked on the autobiographies of footballers Wayne Rooney, Paul Gascoigne and Dwight Yorke. The Wayne Rooney biography led to a successful libel action in 2008 by David Moyes, the manager of his former club, Everton. Moyes magnanimously donated the awarded six figure damages to the club's charity. He has also ghostwritten politician John Prescott's 2008 autobiography, Prezza, My Story: Pulling no Punches.

He writes a football column for the New Statesman magazine which is written in his trademark humorous, irreverent tone. A compilation of these articles was released as a book, The Fan, in 2005 by Pomona Press. Davies writes "Confessions of a Collector" in The Guardian's Weekend color magazine.

Football fan

Hunter Davies has regularly stated that the first football team he supported was when he lived in Dumfries, Queen of the South F.C.

From moving to Carlisle aged 11, Davies next adopted English Football League club Carlisle United F.C. He is Vice President of the Carlisle United Supporters Club London Branch. Long time resident in London, Davies' third adopted team is Tottenham Hotspur. In international football Hunter Davies supports Scotland.

Personal life

Davies is married to the writer Margaret Forster and their daughter Caitlin Davies is also an author. He is also a keen collector.

Selected works

* Here we go 'round the mulberry bush (1965)
* The Beatles, (1968)
* The Beatles, (1978), McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-015463-5
* The Beatles, (2nd Revised Edition, 1985), McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-015526-7.
* The Creighton Report: A Year in the Life of a Comprehensive School, (1976), Hamish Hamilton. ISBN 0-241-89412-3.
* Come On, Ossie! (1985) illustrator Malou Bonicos. Bodley Head Children's Books: ISBN 0-3703-0895-6.
* Ossie Goes Supersonic (1986) illustrator Malou Bonicos. Bodley Head Children's Books: ISBN 0-3703-1007-1.
* Ossie the Millionaire (1987) illustrator Malou Bonicos. Bodley Head Children's Books: ISBN 0-3703-1111-6.
* Wainwright: The Biography (1995), Michael Joseph. ISBN 0-7181-3909-7
* A Walk Round The Lakes, (2000), Orion. ISBN 0-7528-3390-1.
* The Quarrymen, (2001), Omnibus. ISBN 0-7119-8526-X.

Additional bibliography

* The Other Half
* The New London Spy
* The Rise and Fall of Jake Sullivan
* I Knew Daisy Smuten
* A Very Loving Couple
* Body Change
* A Walk Along the Wall
* George Stephenson
* William Wordsworth
* The Grades
* Father's Day
* A Walk Along the Tracks
* Great Britain: A Celebration
* Flossie Teacake's Fur Coat
* Snotty Bumstead Collection
* A Walk Around London's Parks
* A Good Guide to the Lakes
* The Joy of Stamps
* Back in the U.S.S.R.
* Beatrix Potter's Lakeland
* My Life in Football
* In Search of Columbus
* Striker
* Hunting People
* The Teller of Tales
* Living on the Lottery
* Born 1900: A Human History of the Twentieth Century - For Everyone Who Was There.


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