Photograph: Charlotte Knee
Hunter Davies is a prolific author, journalist and broadcaster and the author of the only authorised biography of the Beatles. He was born in Johnston, Renfrewshire in 1936 and moved to Carlisle aged 11. He went on to study at Durham University where he wrote for their university newspaper Palatinate and gained a teaching diploma after his undergraduate degree.
After he left university, Hunter worked as a journalist and in 1965 he wrote the novel HERE WE GO ROUND THE MULBERRY BUSH, that was made into a film of the same name. 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 but advised him to gain the approval of Brian Epstein, and the resulting biography THE BEATLES was published in 1968.
He went on to write for publications such as Punch, New Statesman, The Guardian and The Sunday Times and he has written the FLOSSIE TEACAKE, OSSIE and SNOTTY BUMSTEAD book series for children.
THE JOHN LENNON LETTERS was published on 9 October 2012 by Weidenfeld & Nicolson and THE BISCUIT GIRLS, a book about the women who worked the Carr's Biscuit Factory, in August 2014. THE BEATLES LYRICS was published in 2014.
Simon & Schuster
'As long as I’m alive, I’ll be with her, and she’ll be with me.' Hunter Davies on Margaret Forster.
Hunter Davies’ childhood lived amongst the post-war dirt and grime of Carlisle was immediately hailed as a classic memoir from one of Britain’s foremost columnists of the past half century. The Co-op’s Got Bananas! left our protagonist at the cusp of working for one of the world’s greatest newspapers – The Sunday Times.
In this much-anticipated sequel, Hunter now looks back across five decades of successful writing to reflect on his colourful memories of the living in London during the height of the Swinging Sixties, becoming editor of Britain’s first colour weekend supplement The Sunday Times magazine; where he befriended the Beatles; and reporting on (and partying with) some of the biggest names in television, film and theatre of the day. As time moved on into the 1970s, '80s and '90s, Hunter encountered the likes of Sir Michael Caine, George Best, Melvyn Bragg, Joan Bakewell, Sir Sean Connery, Cilla Black, Paul Gascoigne, and Wayne Rooney to name a few.
Hunter brings the story full circle to reflect on his years spent with the love of his life – the bestselling writer Margaret Forster, who sadly passed away in February 2016. This will not only be a colourful and enjoyable memoir of what it was like to be at the epicentre of Britain’s artistic heart, but also an emotional, heart-felt tribute to family, friends and colleagues. For those captivated by The Co-op’s Got Bananas!,this sequel is a must read.
Head of Zeus
Hunter Davies, who has spent every summer in the Lake District for nearly half a century, takes the reader on an engaging, informative and affectionate tour of the lakes, fells, traditions, denizens and history of England's most popular tourist destination.
From the first discovery of Lakeland as a tourist destination in the 18th century, to the tale of the Maid of Buttermere, to the poet Coleridge's ascent of Scafell Pike in 1802, to such enduring local traditions as Cumberland wrestling and hound trailing, Hunter Davies brings England's Lake District memorably and informatively to life.
Simon & Schuster
Despite the struggle to make ends meet during the tough years of warfare in the 1940s and rationing persisting until the early 1950s, life could still be sweet. Especially if you were a young boy, playing football with your pals, saving up to go to the movies at the weekend, and being captivated by the latest escapade of Dick Barton on the radio. Chocolate might be scarce, and bananas would be a pipe dream, but you could still have fun. In an excellent social memoir from one of the UK's premier columnists over the past five decades, Hunter Davies captures this period beautifully. His memoir of growing up in post-war North of England from 1945 onwards, amid the immense damage wrought by the Second World War, and the dreariness of life on rationing, very little luxuries and an archaic educational system, should be one that will resonate with thousands of readers across Britain.
In the same vein as Robert Douglas's Night Song of the Last Tram - A Glasgow Childhood, Hunter's memories of a hard life laced with glorious moments of colour and emotion will certainly strike a vein with his generation.
Never before has anyone attempted to track down and publish the original versions of the classic songs, many of which have never yet been published. These documents have ended up in the hands of collectors and friends of the Beatles, scattered across the world at museums and universities.
Hunter Davies knew and worked with the Beatles during their heyday, and wrote their first and only authorized biography. In this collection, he has tracked down and reproduced over 100 original handwritten manuscripts of their songs, reproduced here - and, in almost every case, for the very first time.
For the Beatles, writing songs was a process that could happen anytime and anywhere - songs might begin as a scribble on the back of an envelope, a napkin or on hotel stationery. From them we gain a unique insight into the remarkable creative process of the greatest songwriters of all time; what they were thinking, how they changed their minds, and then came up with the words which are now known the world over - complete with all the scribbles and crossings out.
Each song is given its context: what the Beatles were doing at the time, how and when they came to write and record it, how the original version differs from the final one. Almost every Beatles song has a great story behind it, whether it is 'Yesterday', 'Eleanor Rigby' or 'Yellow Submarine'.
Many books have appeared about the Beatles, but in the end what really matters - and will always matter most - is their music. Their music comes out of their lives, just as their lives and emotions are reflected in their music. The Beatles Lyrics is the definitive story of their lives, as uniquely told through their music.
Ivy, Dulcie, Barbara, Ann, Dorothy and Jean all had different reasons for applying to work at Carr's biscuits, but once they had put on their overalls and walked through the factory gates they discovered a community full of life, laughter and friendship.
To those who didn't know, the biscuit factory that towered over Carlisle might look like just another slice of the industrial North, a noisy and chaotic place with workers trooping in and out at all hours. For the biscuit girls it was a place where they worked hard, but also where they gossiped, got into scrapes and made lifelong friends. Outside the factory walls there might be difficult husbands or demanding kids, and sometimes even heartbreak and tragedy, but they knew there would always be an escape from their troubles at Carr's.
Some, like Barbara, only applied because she needed the extra cash, until things got a bit easier at home. Her supervisor cross examined her about who would be looking after the kids while she was at work, but let her have the job. Like many of the women who joined up 'temporary' Barbara went on to stay at Carrs for 32 years.
Beginning in the 1940s, these heartwarming and vividly-remembered stories have all been told by the women themselves to Hunter Davies.
Weidenfeld & Nicholson
John Lennon was a writer as well as a musician. It was entirely natural for him to put pen to paper whenever he had an idea, a thought, a reaction or a desire to communicate.
He lived - and died - in an age before emails and texts. Pen and ink was what he turned to. John wrote letters and postcards all of his life; to his friends, family, strangers, newspapers, organisations, lawyers and the laundry - most of which were funny, informative, campaigning, wise, mad, poetic, anguished and sometimes heartbreaking. For the first time, John's widow, Yoko Ono, has given permission to publish a collection of his letters. The Editor is the Beatles' official biographer, Hunter Davies, who knew John well.
John's letters are in a way something of a mystery - where are they all? Over the years many have come up at auction, then sold to dealers and collectors. Or they have been kept by the recipients, locked up safely. It has been a wonderful piece of detective work tracing many of these 250 letters, postcards and notes, which are arranged in chronological order, so that a narrative builds up, reflecting John's life. It will be visual - in a sense that many of the letters are reproduced as they were, in his handwriting or typing, plus the odd cartoon or doodle. THE JOHN LENNON LETTERS is fundamentally a book to read and study, providing a unique insight into the mind of one of the great figures of our times.