‘Zoë Howe is one of our favourite writers – she can make the essence and magic of the dark stuff seem so alive…’
JOHN ROBB, WRITER, BROADCASTER
'Highly recommend Zoë Howe's excellent Jesus and Mary Chain biography - a touching story of kids in the music business, recalled by their adult selves. A cut above....'
EUAN McCOLM, The Scotsman
'The best rock bio I've ever read.'
ED MITCHELL, THE BLUES MAGAZINE (on Lee Brilleaux: Rock 'n' Roll Gentleman)
“One of the UK’s great biographers.”
DR SIMON WARNER, TEXT & DRUGS & ROCK & ROLL
"Interviewees trust her, as they should...A beacon of modern music writing"
GLENN AIREY - LOUDER THAN WAR
'One of my favourite music books...'
LAUREN LAVERNE on Dayglo: The Poly Styrene Story.
'A stunning reinvention of the memoir format. Five stars.
DAVE COLLINS, VIVE LE ROCK (on Wilko Johnson: Looking Back At Me)
‘Howe is a strong artist in her own right, one with the confidence and spark to return a sense of dignity, relevance & sparkling artistry to the tradition of biography.’
JACQUELINE HOWLETT, STEP ON MAGAZINE
'Britrock book of the year...'
GAVIN MARTIN, Daily Mirror (on Typical Girls? The Story Of The Slits)
'This woman is a rock star.'
KINSI ABDULLEH, Write Idea Festival / Numbi Arts, London
Image by Michael White, Spring 2020
Zoë Howe is an internationally published writer, musician and visual artist, based by the Essex coast. Best known as a music biographer, having worked closely with Dr Feelgood guitarist and Game Of Thrones actor Wilko Johnson amongst many others, her books include the bestselling ‘Stevie Nicks – Visions, Dreams And Rumours’, ’Lee Brilleaux – Rock ‘n’ Roll Gentleman’,‘Barbed Wire Kisses – The Jesus and Mary Chain Story’, ‘Typical Girls? The Story Of The Slits’ (the publication of which prompted a short-lived but significant reunion , and much more besides), ‘How’s Your Dad? Living In The Shadow of a Rock Star Parent’, ‘Florence + The Machine – An Almighty Sound’ and ‘Wilko Johnson – Looking Back At Me’. Zoë’s debut novel, a rock 'n' roll satire titled 'Shine On, Marquee Moon’, was shortlisted for the Virginia Prize for Fiction in 2016.
Zoë is a Royal Literary Fellow in waiting, taking up her position at Newnham College, University of Cambridge in Autumn 2020.
Her most recent book is the highly acclaimed Dayglo: The Poly Styrene Story, collated in collaboration with the late X-Ray Spex star’s daughter Celeste Bell. The pair are also collaborating on a documentary about Styrene, titled 'I Am A Cliché', with director Paul Sng (Sleaford Mods: Invisible Britain). Howe was part of the research / curatorial team on ABBA: Super Troupers exhibition at the O2 Arena (now open until September 2020), curated by Jude Kelly.
She was a contributing author to Aurora Metro books ’50 Women In The Blues’ (published Spring 2020) and ‘British Beat Explosion – Rock ‘n’ Roll Island’ and wrote the ‘fairytale’ which accompanied the DVD release of award-winning Julien Temple documentary The Ecstasy Of Wilko Johnson. In 2015, Zoë joined the Doc 'n' Roll Film Festival jury, and was announced as Louder Than Words Festival's first ‘luminary’. For details, click here. She was also ‘rock ‘n’ roll agony aunt' for The Blues Magazine and the charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) using tough love (tongue firmly in cheek) and good music to 'fix' readers' problems.
As a visual artist, Zoë has featured in the inaugural Nasty Women exhibition in London, Jack Monroe's 'Art For Orlando' fund-raiser, Ply Gallery, We Built This City, White Conduit Projects (part of the 'Violet Beauregard's Gum' exhibition, recommended by Time Out), Focal Point Gallery's 21 venue, Leigh Art Trail, Estuary Fringe Festival, Southend Art Trail, and as part of Metal's FLUX exhibition on Southend Pier alongside artists including Billy Childish. Her latest art project is thegroup show All Kinds Of Naughty, a celebration of Ian Dury, touring in 2020, launching at Stash Gallery, London. www.zoehoweartist.com.
Zoë plays drums and percussion, having played with The Plan (with Wetdog's Rebecca Gillieron), Wobbly Lamps, Helen McCookeryBook, Viv Albertine, Steve Beresford, Charli XCX, Anne Pigalle, Mick Jones, Yumi Hara, Platypus and others. A former actor and photographic / artist's model, Zoë has also worked a number of times with photographer Nadav Kander. One of his images of her appeared in the National Portrait Gallery, and also features in his book ‘Beauty’s Nothing’.
Zoë has written biogs & sleevenotes for artists including the Jesus and Mary Chain, Wilko Johnson, Bardi Johannsson, Command V (featuring Pat Irwin & Bush Tetras’ Cynthia Sley), X Ray-Spex, Lady & Bird (Bardi Johannsson & Keren Ann) and The Slits (Peel Sessions / Hux). Her writing has featured in The Quietus, The Amorist, Channel 4 Music, Company, Classic Rock, BBC Music, ITV, NME, Eye Magazine, Notion, Gigwise, The Blues Magazine, BBC America and Contemporary amongst others, and she was commissioned to contribute an essay on punk for The Roundhouse's anniversary website.
In 2010, Zoë produced and presented 'City By City' on Resonance FM and she occasionally pops up on E4, Planet Rock, BBC 6 Music, Absolute Radio, BBC London, BBC Radio 2 and BBC Essex, and has appeared at / hosted events at festivals and venues including The British Library, the Barbican Centre, Raindance, Louder Than Words, Scottish Book Week, Edinburgh International Book Festival, Edinburgh Festival, Aye Write – Glasgow’s Book Festival, HumberMouth Festival, Stoke Newington Literary Festival (headlining w/Wilko Johnson in 2012), Talking Musical Revolutions, Metal Culture, Doc ‘n’ Roll, Essex Book Festival, Un-Convention, Ladyfest, Writing On The Wall & Secret Garden Party.
NEWS / PRESS / EVENTS
January 11th: Signing copies of 'Barbed Wire Kisses - The Jesus and Mary Chain Story' with Jim and William Reid at Rockaway Beach Festival, 7pm, courtesy of Pie and Vinyl.
January 24th, Midnight: The Witching Hour on Soho Radio - featuring special guest, astrologer Shelley Von Strunckel!
February 7th: Museum of London, International Clash Day - Celeste Bell and I will be discussing our Poly Styrene biography 'Dayglo'. More here.
COVID-19 - ALL LIVE APPEARANCES (INC EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL BOOK FESTIVAL) POSTPONED. STAY HOME, STAY SAFE, KEEP READING!
MAY 7TH 2020: BBC4 9pm...
BAFTA-winning director Norman Stone’s 2008 film ‘Florence Nightingale’ is on, feat class act Laura Fraser as Flo, Roy Hudd (RIP), Andrew Harrison & YES, ME, playing Queen Vic. T'was a thrill to be in this production, not least because I’d already moved into writing & this would be the last thing I did in that respect, thanks to makeup artist Ann Fenton remembering me from a shoot & recommending me for an audition. Thank you Ann! Behold the trailer.
THANKS TO JESUS & MARY CHAIN
For publishing the first chapter of my biography of the band 'Barbed Wire Kisses: The Jesus and Mary Chain Story' on their official website. Cockahoop!
THE WITCHING HOUR on SOHO My brand new witchy show has flown on its broomstick for the first time! Here is the one-hour pilot, which aired on November 28th 2019, with Cathi Unsworth taking the hot seat (and reading from 'That Old Black Magic')! Listen again here. The Witching Hour is a monthly two hour midnight jamboree (yes TWO - witches can stretch time, didn't you know?) of esoterica, occult doings, fabulous guests and music, stars and crystals and Uncle Tom Cobley and all. (DUE TO COVID-19 FUTURE BROADCASTS ARE ON HOLD)
VELVET SHEEP / SONG FOR EWE
Thanks to Nick Hutchings at Velvet Sheep for inviting me to contribute a 'Song For Ewe' - take a gander / a listen!
PODCAST FROM THE PAST
Thrilled to be a guest on Postcard From The Past's excellent podcast alongside the marvellous Andy Miller (Backlisted, Tilting At Windmills). The episode is called 'I've Got A Haunted Postcard Of Keith Moon' (I do) and here it is. Download them all, subscribe! You'll be glad you did.
BRILLEAUX BOOK IN SHORTLIST 'GREAT ROCK BIOG' FEATURE
Chuffed to say my Lee Brilleaux book has just been featured by Shortlist as a 'great rock biography'. Thanks to Robyn Law at Blackwell's! I also joined the dashing Mark Ellen and David Hepworth for a Brilleaux / 1971 Word In Your Ear sesh at The Islington on April 12th - check out the Word podcast here.
BIG ISSUE / LOUDER THAN WAR
Thanks Big Issue North for inviting me to write an 'Off The Shelf' column (it's about girls and gigs!), and to Bryony Hegarty at Louder Than War for this lovely review of 'Shine On, Marquee Moon'.
Q&A - THE MUSE UK / PENNYBLACK
WOW24/7 'WOMEN IN MUSIC'
Thanks Wow24/7 for inviting me to write about women in the music biz. Here's the link! It's short & sweet (salty).
'SHINE ON' FEATURED AS VALENTINE'S INDIE PICK!
Big thanks to Self-Publishing Magazine for interviewing me about the book (and my decision to go DIY)! Read sensational revelations about stupid trousers, broken biscuits, dangerous plastic cups and MUCH, MUCH MORE!
WORD IN YOUR ATTIC WITH MARK ELLEN & DAVID HEPWORTH
April 2020: Thrilled to be invited on Word In Your Ear's lockdown extravaganza Word In Your Attic for a bit of show and tell. Dr & The Medics, Minder and Marquee Moon feature. Expect a great deal of waxing about Detective Sergeant Chisholm, one of the great TV characters of all time.
JAMC / BRILLEAUX BOOK NEWS!
Thrilled to say 'Barbed Wire Kisses' and 'Rock 'n' Roll Gentleman' are out now as new editions, both containing additional material (the former inc my unabridged interview with both Jim AND William Reid, conducted for Psychocandy Live.) BWK is also now available via the Jesus and Mary Chain's merch store!
DEBUT NOVEL SHORTLISTED FOR VIRGINIA PRIZE FOR FICTION
NME LISTS 'SHINE ON' IN 'OBJECTS OF DESIRE' COLUMN
Thrilled to hear that 'Shine On, Marquee Moon' has been included in the NME's 'Things We Like - Objects Of Desire' list! Should YOU desire it, click here.
ZOË HOWE Q&A ON FEMALE FIRST
OUT NOW: 50 WOMEN IN THE BLUES
Proud to have contributed the introduction to this special Aurora Metro Books publication, '50 Women In The Blues' (big thanks to Sister Cookie, Ed Mitchell and Deitra Farr) feat. the photography of Jennifer Noble.
What a subject! The blues is a woman <3
My biography of Stevie Nicks - 'Visions, Dreams & Rumours - is out now in paperback via Omnibus! Check out the ace Bigmouth podcast, which features a chat about the tome. The b-format edition of 'Lee Brilleaux - Rock 'n' Roll Gentleman', meanwhile, was released with a Warners box-set this summer, sleeve-notes by yours truly.
KINO REVIEW / THE STINGER
Darren Johnson wrote a lovely review of my Talking Musical Revolutions book event at Kino, St Leonards, curated by the ace Gavin Martin. And here it is!
IN-DEPTH INTERVIEW ON 'STEP ON'
Big thanks to the super cool Step On Magazine for being so supportive and writing this amazing piece! Features a Q&A too. Bottoms, tutus and Sherlock Holmes feature. As does my new book.
ACADEMY GROUP BLOG FUN
The Academy Group asked me to write a blog for them about how to write a rock star biography for Read A Book Day. And so I did! And here it is!
MYTH-BUSTING ON CHICK LIT CLUB!
Cheeky piece by moi on 'We Heart Reading' about novel-writing. Take a gander!
'STORIES FROM THE SHE-PUNKS' -
Much fun hosting this with Helen McCookeryBook, Gina Birch (Raincoats), Tessa Pollitt (Slits) & Jane Woodgate (Mo-Dettes) at British Library. Post-Q&A the merry throng - myself included (on cardboard box) - performed 'Oh Bondage, Up Yours'. Poly Styrene RIP. I'm also thrilled to have recently recorded drums on a song of Helen's, watch this space!
SPEAK / READ GERMAN? CHECK OUT MY ROCKETTE 'INSTAVIEW'!
The fab folk at Swiss music site Rockette conducted a Q&A with me based on their findings on my Instagram! Check it out here.
BRITISH LIBRARY INTERVIEW
Chuffed to bits to be interviewed by the British Library, a place I like to spend as much time as possible for all sorts of reasons. Here I chat about how I used their archive when I was writing the Slits biography 'Typical Girls?' over a decade ago.
for enquiries or to buy a signed book direct from the author, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
thanks for stopping by.