Wayward Daughter

An official biography of Eliza Carthy by Sophie Parkes

The Carthy family are folk music’s royal family. This is the story of the heir to the throne

  • Published: 1st May 2012
  • Foreword by Mark Radcliffe
  • ISBN: 9780956642073
  • Price: £12.99 paperback
  • Also available for Kindle
  • 256 pages plus two 8 page plates section of colour and b/w photos, mainly from Eliza’s personal collection.

Buy from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com (print and Kindle) or Eliza’s official shop


Wayward Daughter has been getting great reviews:

‘Crucially, the book manages to do justice to the woman herself: earthy, forthright and eminently entertaining.’  fRoots

‘an affectionate, readable biography of a singer and musician who is set to achieve much more.’  English Dance & Song magazine

Is ‘Wayward Daughter’ a good biography? Indeed it is. Is it recommended reading? Without a doubt. What are you waiting for? Buy it now. Tim Carroll, Folkwords

Wayward Daughter is a great read, and should inspire further interest in this singular, inspiring musician. Highly recommended. Mark Dishman, Folk Witness

Sophie Parkes’ Wayward Daughter: An Official Biography of Eliza Carthy, is a beautifully crafted tale of one of this country’s prized assets. Mike Cobley, Brighton Magazine

This is a seriously well-researched book. Dai Woosnam,Living Tradition


Eliza Carthy is the daughter of Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson. The clan has often been rightly described as folk’s royal family. Martin was in Steeleye Span, Albion Dance band and the Watersons as well as holding down a successful solo career. Norma was a member of the Watersons folk group.

Perhaps it was inevitable that Eliza would follow the family trade and become a folk musician. She is no pale imitator though, and can play just about any stringed instrument like a virtuoso, though amazingly she underrates herself. This self- doubt seems at odds with the public persona of a brassy northern lass, who has sometimes been described as ‘difficult’ (though not in our experience).

Her albums are exceptional slices of traditional and new folk, but the stage is her natural home, enthralling audiences with a blend of folk, jazz, rock and music hall.  2011 saw her win two out of the three categories she was nominated for in the Radio 2 British Folk Awards swelling an already bulging trophy cabinet.

As she celebrated 21 years in the music business it seems apt to chronicle the first part of an eventful life. In addition to extensive interviews with Eliza herself, the book contains interviews with her parents and other family members and also many of the people Eliza has worked with: Billy Bragg, comedian Stewart Lee, Richard Thompson, Van Dyke Parks and many more were fulsome in their praise of Eliza when interviewed. The author has been tenacious in tracking down people that are important to the story and has even interviewed her former school teacher!

Eliza has an extensive collection of photographs that people have taken of her and she has been exceptionally generous in letting us use them.

More information, extracts, pictures and podcasts at http://www.elizacarthybook.co.uk

About the Author

Sophie Parkes

Sophie Parkes is a young talented musician. No slouch on the violin herself, she has been writing for Fiddle On magazine since s he was 15. She has her own band Air Cav, who are recording, and runs For Folk’s Sake, a folk club in Manchester. She is resigned to spending the rest of her life there as her Manchester City mad boyfriend, who is also in her band, works for the football club in charge of their social media.