Love Child by Allegra Huston

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Allegra Huston family portrait, by Annie LiebowitzMy complicated family history is the subject of Love Child, so you can go to the Love Child page for all those details. This page will give you an idea of my professional life.

I was born in London in 1964, moved to Ireland when I was five, then to Long Island and on to Los Angeles (Marymount High School, if you’re wondering), before moving back to London in 1980. I got a First Class Honours degree in English at Hertford College, Oxford (1982-85), and won the Violet Vaughan Morgan Prize in Romantic literature, which is a very beautiful medal.

In 1985 I began working at Chatto & Windus publishers in London, first as assistant to the legendary Carmen Callil, then to Andrew Motion, who subsequently became the UK’s Poet Laureate, and at last as an editor myself. Among the authors I worked with were Alan Hollinghurst, Iris Murdoch, and Christopher Hitchens. In 1987 I moved to Weidenfeld & Nicolson, where I was Editorial Director 1990-94. There I worked with Edna O'Brien, Henry Shukman, Matthew Parris, Robert Conquest, Paul Johnson, Alexander Walker and the incredible Jane Goodall.

I left publishing on my thirtieth birthday, not entirely sure what I wanted to do but tired of feeling that I’d sold my life away. Within months I became Acquisition and Development Consultant at Pathé Pictures, and it took me another two years to finally escape office work. Since then, I’ve been writing screenplays and journalism and editing freelance, working with authors including Sir James Goldsmith, Barbara Leaming and Joseph Stiglitz.

Allegra Huston family portrait, by Annie LiebowitzMy film projects include an adaptation of Jill Paton Walsh's Booker Prize-shortlisted novel Knowledge of Angels; original screenplays Harem, The White Rose (both dramatizations of historical events) and Special Delivery (a romantic comedy); and a treatment for an animated adaptation of Kipling's Just So Stories which was optioned by Elton John's Rocket Pictures and the Walt Disney Company. This past summer Roger Landes and I finished a new draft of Worlds End, based on the true story of Esteban, the African slave who was the first Spanish conquistador to explore what is now the southwestern US.

In 2003, I was president of the jury for the Taos Talking Pictures film festival Land Grant Award, having served on the jury the previous year. I’ve also been a board member of Zoukfest, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing Celtic and Balkan music to audiences in New Mexico.

In 2004 the poet James Navé asked me to join him as co-director of a writing workshop now called The Imaginative Storm. The Imaginative Storm has taken us to Oklahoma University and the National University of Ireland, Galway. I also teach screenwriting for the Arvon Foundation in the UK. In autumn 2009 I gave two public lectures on Love Child, to the Twenty-First Century Club in Cleveland and the Newport Beach Public Library Association. I was very nervous about these but to my surprise I really enjoyed them and I’d love to do more.

My travel writing has appeared in the Tatler, The Times (London) and French Vogue. (I love travelling: some of my favorite places are Mexico, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Cuba.) I wrote about Bob Dylan's "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" for the Independent on Sunday's series Lives of the Great Songs (also published in book form) and I’ve done interviews and architectural journalism for the Santa Fean. My article about midwifery, “Catching Babies in New Mexico,” written for Mothering magazine, is now - to my great pride - on the website of the New Mexico state historian (to read, click here). I’m also a fairly frequent guest contributor to Excerpts of Love Child appeared in the Sunday Times (UK) and US Vogue.

I’m a dual national (US, UK), and I’ve lived in Taos, New Mexico since 1999. My husband whom I’m not married to, Cisco Guevara, is a noted local storyteller and president of Los Rios River Runners, New Mexico’s oldest and largest whitewater rafting company. We live in a traditional adobe house which we designed and built ourselves (with some help, of course), with our seven-year-old son, Rafael Patrick Gerónimo Niño de Ortíz Ladrón de Guevara, known as Rafa.