Louise Doughty

About Louise Doughty

Louise Doughty is the author of ten novels, one work of non-fiction, five plays for radio and a TV mini series.  Her most recent book is A Bird in Winter. Her previous novel, Platform Seven (2019), has been adapted as a four-part drama for ITVX and will be broadcast on 7th December 2023. The book before that, Black Water, (2016) was nominated as one of the New York Times Notable Books of the Year and the one preceding that was the bestseller Apple Tree Yard (2013), which has been published or is being translated into thirty languages and adapted into a highly successful BBC One television series starring Emily Watson.

Her first novel, Crazy Paving (1995), was shortlisted for four awards including the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and her sixth, Whatever You Love (2010) was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award and longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction. She has also won awards for radio drama and short stories, along with publishing one work of non-fiction, A Novel in a Year, based on her popular newspaper column. She is a critic and cultural commentator for UK and international newspapers and broadcasts regularly for the BBC. She was a judge for the Man Booker Prize in 2008 and the Costa Book of Year Award in 2015 and has chaired many prize panels for new writers including the Orange Award for New Writers, the Fiction Uncovered promotion, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the Desmond Elliott Award.

Louise Doughty was born in the East Midlands and grew up in Rutland, England’s smallest county, a rural area that later provided the setting for her third novel, Honey-Dew (1998). She attended Leeds University and the University of East Anglia, where she did the MA in Creative Writing course with Malcolm Bradbury and Angela Carter. She then moved to London and spent the rest of her twenties in a series of temporary jobs including teaching and secretarial work. It was her experiences as a temp secretary that provided the material for Crazy Paving (1995), a black comedy about accidents, Chaos Theory and urban terrorism. That was followed by Dance With Me (1996), a novel about ghosts, mental illness and sexual betrayal, and Honey-Dew (1998), a satire of the traditional English mystery. Doughty took a dramatic departure with her fourth novel, the internationally acclaimed Fires in the Dark (2003), about the mass murder of Romany people by the Nazis during the Second World War. It was followed by Stone Cradle (2006), based on her own Romany ancestry, and Whatever You Love (2010), about a mother’s revenge on the driver of the car that killed her daughter.  Her seventh novel was the No 1 bestseller Apple Tree Yard (2013), which has sold over half a million copies across all editions in the UK alone.  In 2007, she published her first work of non-fiction, A Novel in a Year, based on her newspaper column of the same name. She has written major features, columns and cover articles for a wide variety of newspapers and magazines including The Guardian, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, The Mail on Sunday and her broadcasting career includes presenting radio series such as BBC R4′s A Good Read and Writers’ Workshop.

Louise Doughty is a member of the Folio Academy and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.  In 2019 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate (D.Litt) from the University of East Anglia and another Honorary Doctorate (D.Litt) from the University of Leicester in 2022.  She is a Trustee of the National Literary Trust and the Malcolm Bradbury Trust and sits on the Council of the Royal Society of Literature.

‘If you haven’t got the Louise Doughty habit, get it now, she’s the tops.’
London Evening Standard on Dance With Me.

‘A good writer can create character. A good writer can handle a plot. A good writer can create imagery or metaphor and make you feel present in a scene. But only a great writer can do all these things at once. Louise Doughty is such a writer. ‘
Western Australian on Fires in the Dark

There can’t be a woman alive who hasn’t once realised, in a moment of panic, that she’s in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong man.  Louise Doughty, more sure-footed with each novel, leads her unnerved reader into dark territory.  A compelling and bravely written book.’
Hilary Mantel on Apple Tree Yard