Derek Jarman: A Biography

Front Cover
Overlook Press, 2000 - Biography & Autobiography - 613 pages
Fueled by vodka on ice, the occasional bit of Ecstasy, acid, and opium, and innumerable cigarettes, and following an unwavering artistic vision, filmmaker and artist Derek Jarman, who died of AIDS-related causes in 1994, led an outrageous and controversial life.

Jarman's story stretches from his childhood in the bleakness of post-war Britain to his art school days at the Slade and work as a designer for Frederick Ashton, John Gielgud, and Ken Russell. In recounting Jarman's life, biographer Tony Peake tells of Jarman's energetic home movie-making with dazzling friends and a hand-held camera and how it led to distinctive films like Sebastiane, Jubilee, The Tempest, Caravaggio, Wittgenstein, and Blue.

Peake's book is also a vivid social and cultural history -- an edgy account of a bohemian existence in the warehouse studios that lined the Thames and of a scene and of friends that included artists David Hockney and Robert Mapplethorpe and actors Tilda Swinton and Julian Sands. A chronicle of sexual fear and repression and inimitable courage and grace in the face of a protracted death, Derek Jarman: A Biography is an honest and brilliant tribute to the uncompromising life and art of Derek Jarman.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review


User Review  - Kirkus

An evenhanded, pleasingly earnest, and terrifically thorough biography of the English filmmaker, artist, writer, gay advocate, and all-around mischief-maker.Novelist Peake (Son to the Father, not ... Read full review

Derek Jarman: a biography

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Writer, painter, designer, avant-garde filmmaker, and sometimes gardener, Derek Jarman was a whirlwind of creative activity before his AIDS-related death in 1994. British director Ken Russell, who ... Read full review


Family Mythology
Beautiful Flowers and How to Grow Them

29 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2000)

Tony Peake knew Derek Jarman during the last seven years of Jarman's life; he was his literary agent.
In researching this biography he had cooperation from Jarman's family and friends and unfettered access to Jarman's papers and film archives. Tony Peake is the author of two novels, "A Summer Tide" and "Son to the Father,

Bibliographic information