Davies, Katharine 1968–
Davies, Katharine 1968–
PERSONAL: Born 1968. Education: Attended London University; earned an M.A.
ADDRESSES: Agent—Caroline Dawnay, PFD, Drury House, 34-43 Russell St., London WC2B 5HA, England.
CAREER: Novelist. Taught English.
AWARDS, HONORS: Romantic Novel of the Year Award, FosterGrant Reading Glasses, 2005, for A Good Voyage.
A Good Voyage, Chatto and Windus (London, England), 2004, published as The Madness of Love, Random House (New York, NY), 2005.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Hush, Little Baby, a novel.
SIDELIGHTS: Katharine Davies, a former English teacher, became a published writer in 2004 with her award-winning first novel, The Madness of Love (published in England as A Good Voyage). The novel, a modern reworking of William Shakespeare's play Twelfth Night, tells the story of Leo, a musician living in a Welsh village, who falls in love with Melody, headmistress of the local school. Melody, in mourning for her dead brother, is also fancied by the deputy headmaster as well as by one of her students. To complicate matters even more, Leo hires Valentina to tend his garden and help him woo Melody, but Valentina soon falls in love with Leo.
Reviewers greeted Davies' debut with largely positive assessments. Although a Kirkus Reviews critic found The Madness of Love "as pretentious as its title suggests," others found much more to like. Whitney Scott, writing in Booklist, called the novel a "charming romantic comedy of contemporary manners." More praise came from a Library Journal review by Mary Margaret Benson, who noted that, in the novel, "plot and style are deft and light but never saccharine." In addition, a contributor for Publishers Weekly concluded that The Madness of Love has "subtle sophistication and lovely, lyrical prose, and will charm readers with its warmth and sweetness."
Davies told CA: "I wrote quite a lot as a child but not really that much before I started a writing course many years later. The Madness of Love was completed during my M.A. in creative writing, which I enrolled on in my early thirties, after a long period of doing no writing, except the occasional poem and one novel which I never finished. During the second year of the course, I submitted the opening of The Madness of Love (which I had just written there and then) for one of my assessments. It took me a year to complete from start to finish. The novel was accepted for publication not long after the course ended which was a bit of a shock!
"My greatest influence is Shakespeare. I loved Twelfth Night so much that I couldn't help using it when I started to write about love and loss and longing. Words from his plays are often in my head.
"My writing process is to write by hand in the early morning and then to transfer what I have written to the computer in the afternoon, making changes as I go. I then go back and edit several times before moving on.
"I have learnt that you are still the same person even after you have published a book and can officially call yourself an author! I thought my perspectives would magically change. It's like escaping to a new country that you have always wanted to go to and thinking you will somehow become new too. When I was younger, in my twenties, when I lived and worked in Sri Lanka (where some of The Madness of Love is set) I learnt that I was still the same person wherever I was in the world! I suppose that, looking back, I discovered some important things about myself at that time but I was only able to see and understand these things later. Perhaps it is like that with writing."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, January 1, 2005, Whitney Scott, review of The Madness of Love, p. 813.
Bookseller, April 15, 2005, "First-Time Novelist Finds True Romance," p. 6.
Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2004, review of The Madness of Love, p. 1154.
Library Journal, January 1, 2005, Mary Margaret Benson, review of The Madness of Love, p. 95.
Publishers Weekly, December 13, 2004, review of The Madness of Love, p. 46.
Times (London, England), April 15, 2005, Dalya Alberge, "Love Conquers Rivals of First-Time Novelist."
PFD Web site, http://www.pfd.co.uk/ (August 16, 2005), "Katharine Davies."
Romantic Novelists Association Web site, http://www.spreckley.co.uk/rna/ (August 16, 2005), "Unrequited Love Wins through to Scoop Romantic Fiction Prize."