David Young

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David Young

David Young was born on the outskirts of Hull. After dropping out of a Bristol University science degree, he studied modern history at the city’s then polytechnic.

Temporary jobs cleaning ferry toilets and driving a butcher’s van were followed by three decades as a journalist on provincial newspapers, a London news agency, and in the BBC’s international radio and TV newsrooms.

Now a full-time author, his debut novel Stasi Child was the first in a series of Cold War era crime thrillers set in East Germany. David lives in Twickenham but also spends time at his writing retreat on Syros in the Cyclades.


Interviewed 27 April 2019

Ten words to sum up your working life to date ...

Local reporter, then BBC news editor, escaped via book deal.

Nine things you can see from where you're sitting ...

A plane descending loudly into Heathrow (I could fill up all nine with those), beautiful magnolia in bloom overhanging my writing shed, dropped pink/white petals I haven’t cleared up, under which are last year’s fallen leaves I still haven’t cleared up, and under that a wooden deck that’s so rotten (I wonder why?) I need scaffolding boards as a ‘bridge’ to access said writing shed safely. Another plane has just gone over as I write. And another. On my writing desk, the V5 document of the 1972 East German Wartburg I’m trying to sell. There goes another plane. I’m sure that’s more than nine things.

Eight minutes to prepare a meal. What's it going to be ?

My lunch in about half an hour’s time. Fried steak, fresh tomato, mushroom with steamed (microwaved) asparagus on the side.

Seven people you'd like to go for a drink with ...

I’m very anti-social so I wouldn’t really want to, but if pressed: Roy Orbison’s hologram, Edwyn Collins, Neil Young in his ‘dark period’, a re-incarnated Deke Leonard (RIP Deke), Hull City legendary hardman Billy Whitehurst, and Lily James. My final choice would be Walter the Softee aka Jacob Rees-Mogg (or any other arch-Brexiteer) simply so I could throw my beer over him.

Six things you can't live without ...

My family, Hull City AFC (although I’d gladly live without the club’s owners, the Allam family), freshly-squeezed orange juice, cheap rosé wine, fresh kalamari, views of the Aegean.

Five favourite words ...

Atavistic, crepuscular, antifaschistischer, onomatopoeia, bedtime.

Four places you'd run away to ...

Apedale above Wensleydale, Syros in the Cyclades where I’ve just bought a little writing retreat, the Isle of Wight, Ishigaki or Iriomote in Japan’s Yaeyama islands.

Three books you've bought recently ...

The Corfu trilogy by Gerald Durrell, Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore, and Blood and Sugar by fellow City University Crime Writing MA postgraduate Laura Shepherd-Robinson.

Two things that make you rant ...

Politicians and Brexiteers who claim Brexit is the ‘will of the people’ when only 37 per cent of the UK electorate voted for it (and only 27 per cent of the population) – the rest either chose to Remain or didn’t or couldn’t vote. People who ignore your advice to buy a Mac, and then want help when their Windows-based computer goes wrong or they don’t understand it. Oh, and those bloody planes are still flying over, but that’s a third thing so I guess it doesn’t count. Actually, could we start this again and have the rants at the top so I can list ten of them? Or even 20 …

One thing you'd tell your teenage self ...

Don’t listen to people who tell you off for daydreaming – it’s good for you!