David Peace

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David Peace

David Peace (born 1967) is an English writer. Known for his novels Red Riding Quartet (1999-2002), GB84 (2004), and The Damned Utd (2006), Peace was named one of the Best of Young British Novelists by Granta in their 2003 list.[1] Peace, however, attracted unwanted attention for The Damned Utd when Johnny Giles, whom Peace had used as one of the characters in the book, successfully sued him for libel in the High Court in 2008.


David Peace grew up in Ossett, West Yorkshire. He was educated at Batley Grammar School, Wakefield College[2] and Manchester Polytechnic, which he left in 1991 to go to Istanbul to teach English. He moved to Tokyo in 1994 and returned to the UK in 2009. He went back to Tokyo in 2011, because he found it hard to write in Britain.[3]

Red-Riding Quartet[edit]

The Red-Riding Quartet comprises the novels Nineteen Seventy-Four (1999), Nineteen Seventy-Seven (2000), Nineteen Eighty (2001) and Nineteen Eighty-Three (2002). The books deal with police corruption, and are set against a backdrop of the Yorkshire Ripper murders between 1975 and 1980. They feature several recurring characters. Red Riding, a three-part TV adaptation of the series, aired on Channel 4 in the UK in 2009.[4] The cast includes Sean Bean, Andrew Garfield and Rebecca Hall.


Peace followed the quartet with GB84 (2004). This is a fictional portrayal of the year of the UK miners' strike (1984–1985). It describes the insidious workings of the British government and MI5, the coalfield battles, the struggle for influence in government and the dwindling powers of the National Union of Mineworkers. The book was awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for literature in 2005.

The Damned Utd, Red or Dead[edit]

He followed GB84 with another fact-based fictional piece, The Damned Utd (2006), which is based on Brian Clough's fateful 44-day spell in 1974 as manager of Leeds United Football Club. Entering the mind of the man who many regard as a football genius, Peace tells the story of a man characterised by a fear of failure and a hunger for success. Peace has described it as an "occult history of Leeds United". Former footballer and manager Johnny Giles successfully sued Peace for The Damned Utd as to what he perceived were gross untruths in the book.[5] As part of the settling in the 2008 High Court dispute, the publisher of The Damned Utd, Faber and Faber, were ordered to remove from any future editions the references perceived by Giles as damaging and untrue.[6]

Peace is a supporter of Huddersfield Town, a club who are a local rival of Leeds United,[7] and the team that Leeds United played in Clough's first and last games in charge of the club. The Damned Utd has been made into a film entitled The Damned United, with Michael Sheen playing Brian Clough.[8]

Peace's novel Red or Dead, about Bill Shankly and the rise of Liverpool Football Club, was released in August 2013.[9]

Tokyo Trilogy[edit]

Tokyo Year Zero (2007) follows the investigations of a Tokyo detective in the aftermath of Japan's defeat in World War II. It is based on the true story of serial killer Yoshio Kodaira.[10] It is the first of Peace's novels to be set outside of Yorkshire and forms the first part of a trio of books on the U.S. military occupation of Japan. The second book, published in August 2009, is called Occupied City, a Rashomon-like telling of the Hirasawa Sadamichi case in Tokyo in 1948. The final volume of the Tokyo trilogy, Patient X, was published in 2018. Subtitled The case-book of Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, it follows the life of author Akutagawa from his childhood to his suicide in 1927, including his witnessing of the Great Kantō earthquake that devastated most of Tokyo and much of the surrounding region in 1923.[11]

Future plans[edit]

Peace's future plans include UKDK, about the changing face of UK politics, set around the fall of Harold Wilson and rise of Margaret Thatcher, and titles possibly including The Yorkshire Rippers and Nineteen Forty Seven.[12] He has also begun preparing a novel about Geoffrey Boycott and his relationship with Yorkshire County Cricket Club and England. He intends to stop writing novels after his twelfth novel but has joked he may publish a collection of his "very bad poetry".[13]



  • Peace, David (2004). GB84. London: Faber.
  • 2006 The Damned Utd
  • 2013 Red or Dead
Red Riding Quartet
  • 1999 Nineteen Seventy-Four
  • 2000 Nineteen Seventy-Seven
  • 2001 Nineteen Eighty
  • 2002 Nineteen Eighty-Three
Tokyo Trilogy
  • 2007 Tokyo Year Zero
  • 2009 Occupied City
  • 2018 Patient X [11]

Essays, reporting and other contributions[edit]

  • Peace, David (June 10–17, 2013). "The Ripper". True Crimes. The New Yorker. 89 (17): 74–75.



  1. ^ "Granta best Young British Novelists 2003: News". The Guardian. London. 2003. Retrieved 2008-01-27.
  2. ^ "David Peace interview: GB84's shadowy forces ranged against the miners". Socialist Worker. London. 2009. Retrieved 2014-05-13.
  3. ^ David Peace, speaking to Adrian Goldberg on Radio 5 Live, 13 August 2013
  4. ^ "City gives a backdrop to new drama". Bradford Telegraph & Argus. 2008-09-09.
  5. ^ "Publish and be Damned: Giles fights back for Revie and Clough". The Independent. London. 2010-11-13.
  6. ^ http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/exclusive_clough_portrayal_helped_drive_giles_s_libel_bid_1_3025001
  7. ^ "The Genius of the Life of Brian". The Guardian. London. 2006-12-31. Retrieved 2008-01-27.
  8. ^ "Clough's 44 days at Leeds United given big screen treatment". Yorkshire Evening Post. 2007-02-03. Retrieved 2008-01-27.
  9. ^ Faber & Faber, London, 2013. ISBN 978-0-571-28066-7
  10. ^ Steve Finbow (2007-08-12). "A dark dissection of Tokyo at war". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2007-11-24.
  11. ^ a b Faber & Faber, London, 2018. ISBN 978-0-571-33624-1
  12. ^ "Ready For War: David Peace". Stop Smiling. 2006-11-27. Retrieved 2008-01-27.
  13. ^ Phelan, Stephen (2009-02-21). "The past master". Sunday Herald. Newsquest (Sunday Herald). Archived from the original on 2009-02-25. Retrieved 2009-02-21.