Folk musician’s life is captured in book

Sophie Parkes
Sophie Parkes

A FORMER Banbury School student has finished writing the official biography of famous folk musician Eliza Carthy.

Sophie Parkes, 26, took about eight months to complete Wayward Daughter, which was released on May 9.

She said: “It has been a burning ambition of mine to write a book as I have writing about folk music since I was a teenager. As a fan of Eliza I pitched an idea to a publisher thinking I wouldn’t get anywhere, but they said they were really interested.

“It is absolutely terrifying that the book is now out there for people to read! I’ve had two reviews so far which have been positive.”

Wayward Daughter charts the lives of Eliza’s parents, Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson, before detailing Eliza’s burgeoning musicality.

It examines her innovative approach to folk music, such as the blending of traditional English song and drum and bass which earned her two Mercury nominations in 1998.

Ms Parkes first fell in love with folk music after attending the Ride a Cock Horse Folk Club in Banbury. She took up the violin aged seven and completed an English degree in Manchester before working on the book.

She said: “It was a case of lots of interviews, talking to friends, colleagues, family and fans including Billy Bragg and Stewart Lee. “I really enjoyed just getting to know Eliza, her family and asking questions that you couldn’t really ask normally. We got on really well together.”

Eliza Carthy’s career has spanned 20 years and she has been described as one of the most recognised folk musicians.

She played the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2001 and in 2003 became the first English traditional musician to be nominated for a BBC Radio 3 award for World Music.

Wayward Daughter is available to buy from Waterstones or online at Amazon for £12.99.

A Q&A with Eliza about the book can also be found at