Caitlin Davies

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Caitlin Davies
Born 1964 (age 50–51)

Caitlin Davies (born 1964) is an English author, journalist and teacher. Her parents are Margaret Forster and Hunter Davies, both well-known writers. Caitlin's father wrote regularly about her and her brother Jake and sister Flora in a weekly Punch magazine column which ran in the 1970s, giving a broad insight into their upbringing.

Although born in England, Davies has been associated with Botswana since 1990 when she met her husband, the former MP Ronald Ridge, while studying for a Masters in English at Clark University, USA. Relocating to Botswana and working as a teacher, and then a freelance journalist, she wrote for Botswana's first tabloid newspaper The Voice and then as editor of The Okavango Newspaper. She was twice arrested as a journalist, once for 'causing fear and alarm', and acquitted. She also received a journalist of the year award.

While living in Botswana she wrote the novel Jamestown Blues and the historical work The Return of El Negro. The victim of a brutal assault and rape, she was active in research concerning domestic violence in Botswana and a founder member of Women Against Rape (WAR) in Maun.

She returned to England with her daughter after divorcing her husband and published a memoir about her experiences, called Place of Reeds, and for several years wrote education and careers features for The Independent newspaper.

She has published several novels since then; Black Mulberries (2008), Friends Like Us (2009) and The Ghost of Lily Painter (2011) a fictionalised account of two Edwardian baby farmers who were hanged at Holloway Prison in 1903. Her most recent novel is Family Likeness (2013) which draws on the experiences of UK children born to GIs during World War Two, as well as the story of Dido Elizabeth Belle.

She has also written an illustrated non-fiction book on the bathing ponds and lido on Hampstead Heath, with photographs by Ruth Corney, and a social history of Camden Lock.

Her latest non-fiction book is Downstream: a history and celebration of swimming the River Thames, to be published by Aurum in April 2015, while she is currently writing a novel based on the life of Agnes Beckwith, 'champion lady swimmer of the world'.

Since September 2014 she has been a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the University of Westminster, in the faculty of Media, Arts & Design.


  • Jamestown Blues. London ; New York : Penguin, 1996.
  • The Return of El Negro : the compelling story of Africa's unknown soldier. Penguin Books (South Africa), 2003. Thorold’s Africana Books [distributor]
  • Summer Magic. London : Bloomsbury, 2003. (short story contributor)
  • Place of Reeds. London : Simon & Schuster, 2005.
  • Black Mulberries. London : Pocket, 2008.
  • Friends like us. London : Pocket, 2009.
  • The Ghost of Lily Painter. London : Hutchinson, 2011. London : Windmill, 2012.
  • Taking the Waters : a Swim around Hampstead Heath. London : Frances Lincoln, 2012.
  • Camden Lock and the Market. London: Frances Lincoln, 2013
  • Family Likeness. London: Hutchinson, 2013. London : Windmill, 2014.
  • Downstream: a history and celebration of swimming the River Thames. London: Aurum, 2015.

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