Caitlin Davies

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Caitlin Davies
Born 1964 (age 52–53)
Occupation writer
Nationality British

Caitlin Davies (born 1964) is an English author, journalist and teacher. Her parents are Hunter Davies and Margaret Forster, both well-known writers.[1] Hunter Davies wrote regularly about Caitlin 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. In her youth she was also frequently referred to by Auberon Waugh in his Private Eye diary.

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.[citation needed]

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, described by Hilary Mantel as ‘candid and unsentimental’. For several years she wrote education and careers features for The Independent.

Davies has published several novels; 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 mixed race UK children born to GIs during World War Two, as well as the story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, Britain's 'first black aristocrat'.

She has also written an illustrated non-fiction book on the bathing ponds and lido on Hampstead Heath, Taking the Waters: a swim around Hampstead Heath (2012), with photographs by Ruth Corney, and a social history of Camden Lock (2013). As a journalist her work has appeared in a variety of newspapers and magazines including The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Mail on Sunday, Town and Country and Tate Etc..

In 2015 her non-fiction book Downstream: a history and celebration of swimming the River Thames was published.[2] It was described by The Independent as 'a fascinating cultural history'. It resulted in a three-week Thames swimming showcase at the Museum of London.

Davies is currently finishing a novel - 'Daisy Belle: Swimming Champion of the World' - based on the life of Agnes Beckwith, and a history of Holloway Prison in north London, the largest women's prison in Western Europe, to be published by John Murray in February 2018. The prison closed in July 2016; the site will be redeveloped for housing.

In September 2014 she became a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the University of Westminster, in the faculty of Media, Arts & Design, Harrow Campus.[citation needed]


  • 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.
  • Grandparents. London: Ebury, 2009. (short story contributor)
  • 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.


  1. ^ BBC: Author Margaret Forster dies from cancer aged 77 (accessed 8 February 2016)
  2. ^ Caitlin Davies (2 April 2015). Downstream: A History and Celebration of Swimming the River Thames. Aurum Press. pp. 292–. ISBN 978-1-78131-488-3. 

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