Denby, Joolz 1955–
Denby, Joolz 1955–
PERSONAL: Born 1955, in Colchester, Essex, England; partner of Justin Silverman (a musician). Religion: "Syncretic pagan."
ADDRESSES: Home—Bradford, England. Agent—Rod Hall Agency Ltd., 6th Fl., Fairgate House, 78 New Oxford St., London WC1A 1HB, England.
MEMBER: Societé des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques (France).
AWARDS, HONORS: New Crime Writer of the Year award, Crimewriters' Association, for Corazon; Gold Disc, EMI Germany, for record-cover design; Orange Prize shortlist, 2005, for Billie Morgan.
Stone Baby, HarperCollins (London, England), 2000.
Corazon, HarperCollins (London, England), 2001.
Billie Morgan, Serpent's Tail (New York, NY), 2004.
Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know, Virgin Books (London, England), 1986.
Emotional Terrorism, Bloodaxe (Tarset, Northumberland, England), 1990.
Errors of the Spirit, Flambard Press (Hexham, Northumberland, England), 2000.
Contributor of short fiction to anthology England Calling: Twenty-four Stories for the Twenty-first Century, Weidenfeld & Nicolson (London, England), 2002. Poetry recorded on albums, including War of Attrition, Abstract Records, 1983; Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know, EMI, 1986; and Hex, EMI, 1990.
SIDELIGHTS: Joolz Denby is a British writer whose novels are often categorized as crime and suspense fiction. Denby is known in her native England as a counterculture icon who, as a young woman, married into an outlaw gang of motorcyclists. She also is a well-known performance poet and illustrator. In her novels, she has created fringe characters and dealt with the results of violent crime. Her first novel, Stone Baby, tells a story of the friendship between Lily and Jamie and how the latter's life is disrupted when she meets Sean, a psychopath and killer. Lily, who has become the manager for Jamie's stand-up comedy act, cannot protect Jamie from her invariably awful taste in men. With her second novel, Corazon, Denby portrays the sinister dealings of a cult in Spain and the British woman who joins its membership, only to discover some horrific truths.
Denby's literary fame in England grew with her third novel, Billie Morgan, which was shortlisted for the prestigious Orange Prize. Somewhat patterned after Denby herself, the protagonist, Billie Morgan, is a middle-aged former "biker chick" who runs a jewelry story. Billie confides to the reader in the opening sentence that she has murdered somebody. Thus, Billie Morgan is not a whodunit, but a novel in search of the victim and the reason for the killing. Helen Brown, writing for the London Telegraph, felt that the story is "so gripping that it practically arm-wrestles the reader into its pungently murderous Northern plot." Sean Brennan, writing for Three Monkeys Online, praised the way in which Denby's characters "come alive off the page." Speaking with Brennan, Denby explained that she did not set out to write standard crime novels with any of her books. "I'm not writing police-procedurals-by-numbers," she explained. "I dislike crime-novels that pile up the body-count and use porno-violence to get an effect and appeal to the ghoul in us all; it's easy to write that kind of thing but it's nasty and dirty stuff."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Guardian (London, England), April 18, 2005, John Ezard, "Biker Chick Is Literary Chic on Orange Shortlist."
Library Journal, February 15, 2002, Mary Margaret Benson, review of England Calling: Twenty-four Stories for the Twenty-first Century, p. 180.
New Zealand Herald, June 15, 2005, Linda Herrick, review of Billie Morgan.
Telegraph (London, England), May 1, 2005, Helen Brown, "A Writer's Life: Joolz Denby."
British Broadcasting Corporation Web site, http://www.bbc.co.uk/ (June 8, 2005), "The Devil's Own Writer."
E-Sheaf, http://www.e-sheaf.org/ (August 16, 2005), Gary Kaye, "Joolz Denby Interview."
Joolz Denby Home Page, http://www.joolz.net (August 16, 2005).
Shots: The Crime and Mystery Magazine, http://www.shotsmag.co.uk/ (August 16, 2005), Calum Macleod, review of Billie Morgan.
Three Monkeys Online, http://www.threemonkeysonline.com/ (May, 2005), Sean Brennan, "Joolz Denby: Crossing Boundaries."
Time Warner Web site, http://www.twbooks.co.uk/ (August 16, 2005), "Story Teller: Joolz Denby, Author of Stone Baby, in Conversation with Bob Cornwell."