Julia Blackburn
Radio Plays
and Stories
News and Events

Born in London, 1948, only child of the poet Thomas Blackburn and the painter Rosalie de Meric.
Lives in Suffolk and sometimes in northern Italy. Two children, one stepdaughter and four grandchildren.
Married the Dutch sculptor Herman Makkink (1937-2013) in 1999. www.hermanmakkink.eu

TIME SONG: searching for Doggerland will be published by Jonathan Cape on February 7 2019
with a launch at Hatchards, Piccadilly, London.

I have been working with the artist Jayne Ivimey on a book called BIRD BY BIRD: the Red List in thought and image. We expect it to be published by June 2019.





The Nature of my Writing

In the late 1950s, the jazz singer Billie Holiday was asked in a radio interview what the blues meant to her. There are two kinds of blues she says, her voice as crackly as a scratched record, happy blues and sad blues, I donít ever sing the same song twice and I donít ever sing the same tempo; one night itís a little bit slower, next night itís a little bit faster, depending how I feel.

Everything I have written has been part of my life in one way or another and I sometimes wonder how much faster or slower, happier or sadder, each book would have been, if I had written it at a different time, according to a different mood or circumstance.

When I started writing I tried to make fiction , but its wide and un-signposted landscape made me nervous and I quickly lost my way. So I stepped into research and the more solid structures it seems to offer. I am not and never have been an historian or a specialist in any particular field, but I am fascinated by the way that one can get closer to an understanding of a stranger, just by talking to others, by reading letters, diaries, or written accounts and by entering what Henry James called the visitable past: the places that still hold echoes of what once was.


Daisy Bates in the Desert: shortlisted for Waterstones Esquire Award

The Book of Colour: shortlisted for the Orange Prize

The Leper's Companions: shortlisted for the Orange Prize

Old Man Goya: finalist for National Book Critics' Award (US)

With Billie: winner of the Deems Taylor Award (US)

The Three of Us: winner of the J.R.Ackerley Award

Thin Paths: shortlisted for the Ondaatje Prize and for the Costa Biography Award

Threads: winner of the East Anglian Book of the Year Award and the New Angle Prize