Zoë Howe is an internationally published author, broadcaster, musician and visual artist. Best known as a music biographer, her most recent book is the acclaimed 'Dayglo: The Poly Styrene Story', created with the late X-Ray Spex star's daughter, Celeste Bell. (The pair also collaborated on the documentary 'Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché', with director Paul Sng). Zoë’s debut novel, 'Shine On, Marquee Moon', was shortlisted for the Virginia Prize for Fiction in 2016. Zoë's next book (appropriately her 13th) is Mind/Body/Spirit title 'Witchful Thinking' (Llewellyn, 2021). Other 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', '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 is a contributor to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and a Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow, taking up her position at Newnham College, University of Cambridge in Autumn 2020. In 2015, the UK's first music writing festival Louder Than Words (founded by John Robb and Jill Adam) announced Howe as their 'Festival Luminary'.
As of 2021, Zoë will be available as a writing mentor to a limited number of private clients, from authors to aspiring journalists. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for further details and your enquiry will be forwarded.
Howe was part of the research/editorial/curatorial team on ABBA: Super Troupers exhibition at the O2 Arena 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' sleevenotes for the award-winning Julien Temple documentary 'The Ecstasy Of Wilko Johnson'. In 2015, Zoë joined the Doc 'n' Roll Film Festival jury. Nothing if not diverse, she was the editor of Icelandmusic.is for five years, championing Icelandic artists on behalf of Iceland Music Export, and was also a rock ‘n’ roll agony aunt for The Blues Magazine and the charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably - Dr Pop).
Zoë has written biogs & sleevenotes for artists including the Jesus & Mary Chain, Wilko Johnson, Bardi Johannsson, Keren Ann, JB Benoit (Air), Command V (Pat Irwin & Bush Tetras’ Cynthia Sley), X Ray-Spex and The Slits (Peel Sessions). Her writing has featured in The Quietus, The Amorist, Channel 4 Music, Company, Classic Rock, BBC Music, ITV, NME, Eye, Notion, Gigwise, The Blues Magazine, BBC America and Contemporary amongst others, and she was commissioned to contribute an essay for The Roundhouse's anniversary website.
Zoë's monthly show, 'Rock 'n' Roll Witch' (formerly 'The Witching Hour'), is on Soho Radio. Listen to past episodes here. Zoë has appeared on BBC5 Live (Up All Night), BBC 6Music, Absolute Radio, Planet Rock, BBC Radio 2 and was a regular cover presenter for Gary Crowley's Punk & New Wave Show. In 2010, Zoë produced and presented a series of psychogeographic musical explorations for Resonance FM (City by City) and she occasionally appears on Sky Arts, E4, Planet Rock, BBC London/regionals. In the live arena, she has appeared at/hosted events at the British Library, Abbey Road Studios, Barbican, HomePlace, Raindance, Louder Than Words, Scottish Book Week, Edinburgh International Book Festival, Edinburgh Festival, Aye Write, HumberMouth, Tallinn Music Week (in conversation with Barry Adamson, Iain & Jane etc), Stoke Newington Literary Festival (headlining w/Wilko Johnson, 2012), Talking Musical Revolutions, Metal Culture, Doc ‘n’ Roll, Essex Book Festival, Un-Convention, Ladyfest, Writing On The Wall & Secret Garden Party.
She has been interviewed about her work on WNYC Soundcheck, That Eric Alper Show (Sirius FM), BBC 6Music, BBC Radio 2, Planet Rock, Teen Vogue, The Independent, the Guardian, Forbes, CBS, Diva Magazine, Rolling Stone and elsewhere. A former actor and photographic/artist's model, Zoë has worked with Nadav Kander; one of his images of her appearing in the National Portrait Gallery. She also features in his book 'Beauty's Nothing'.
Zoë specialises in mixed media collage and creates off-beat celebrations/satirisations of feminine symbolism, mysticism and sex, using surrealist devices and games in her work. She is inspired by magic and nature religions, rock 'n' roll, nostalgia and the heavens.
In 2019, Zoë was thrilled to be invited to be part of the Thames Group of Artists. The Group will be touring the exhibition 'All Kinds Of Naughty', in memoriam of Ian Dury, in 2021.
She has exhibited at Ply Gallery (Hornsey Arts Centre), Stour Space (the inaugural Nasty Women exhibition), White Conduit Projects (‘Violet Beauregarde’s Gum’), Estuary Fringe, Leigh Art trail & Southend Festival (incorporating residencies at erstwhile Junk Club venue the Royal Hotel and Revolution), Annabel Dee Gallery and as part of Metal Culture's 'Flux' exhibition on Southend Pier alongside artists including Billy Childish. She is part of Thames Group of Artists' show All Kinds Of Naughty, a celebration of Ian Dury, launching at Sophie Parkin's Stash Gallery, London, in 2021.
10% of all Zoë's art sales are donated to The Dove Centre (Domestic Abuse Projects) in Southend.
Zoë plays drums & percussion, & has worked with Viv Albertine, The Plan (w/ Wetdog's Rebecca Gillieron), Wobbly Lamps, Helen McCookeryBook, Steve Beresford, Charli XCX, Anne Pigalle, Mick Jones, Yumi Hara, Platypus &c.