Derek and Julia Parker have written a considerable number of books, both individually and in collaboration. Among the latter are several on astrology and dream interpretation – including the best-selling Compleat Astrologer (1970), arguably the first comprehensive teach-yourself book on the subject since William Lilly’s Christian Astrology in 1647.
They were born in England exactly two months apart in the same year – Julia (in Plymouth) on July 27, and Derek (in Cornwall) on May 27. Twenty-five years later they were married, on Julia’s birthday – at exactly the time of the New Moon in Leo, though they didn’t know that at the time!
Educated at Fowey Grammar School, Derek started his working life as a reporter on The Cornishman, a weekly newspaper in Penzance, and went on to become drama critic of the daily Western Morning News in Plymouth. By this time he had already published two slim collections of poetry, and seen his verse-play Beyond Wisdom produced.
It was at Plymouth that he met Julia, who had left school at the age of fourteen to attend Plymouth College of Art as its youngest ever student. She combined her art studies with a talent for dancing, and not only studied ballet but danced professionally as part of the famous Tiller Girls troupe. She later taught art at Plymouth College for Boys.
Derek (who had made his first radio broadcast at the age of fifteen) left newspapers to join the staff of TWW, an independent television station in Cardiff, Wales, as announcer, newscaster, scriptwriter, presenter and interviewer. Julia, joining him in Wales, worked as a freelance set designer and graphic artist. They then moved to London, where Derek worked as a freelance writer and broadcaster and Julia first as an art teacher at Hammersmith Girls’ Comprehensive School, then as writer and consultant astrologer.
Between 1965 and 1970 Derek edited Poetry Review, and in 1968 published (as his first prose book) a short biography of Lord Byron. He organised the successful appeal to place a memorial to that poet in Poets’ Corner of Westminster Abbey. In 1970 he edited (with John Lehmann) the selected letters of Edith Sitwell.
Julia’s interest in astrology began in 1965. She studied for the Diploma of the Faculty of Astrological Studies, the world’s premium teaching body (of which she subsequently became first its Secretary, then its President, and finally one of its three Patrons). Derek meanwhile became interested in the history of the subject, and in 1970 published a study of astrology in the modern world. Derek and Julia then collaborated on a textbook, The Compleat Astrologer, which became a world-wide best-seller and was to remain in print for over a quarter of a century.
Julia took part in five highly successful series of television programmes for BBC South-West, Zodiac and Co. Both she and Derek have appeared together and separately on innumerable TV and radio discussion programmes in the UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand. They have lectured all over the world, and recorded a series of twelve astrological videos.
In the autumn of 1984 a revised and re-designed edition of The Compleat Astrologer was published as The New Compleat Astrologer, launched by a coast-to-coast tour of the USA. It was eventually replaced by Parkers’ Astrology (1991, 2001). In the autumn of 1985 Dreaming, a book on the interpretation of dreams, was published, presenting a system of dream interpretation on which Julia had worked over some years. (Derek and Julia were guest dream analysts on the UK ITV morning show The Big Breakfast for some months after its launch).
Derek’s main work during the 1960s was with radio: he wrote and introduced innumerable programmes for both the domestic and World Service of the BBC, most of them concerned with the arts; he devised many programmes using the BBC sound archives and introduced classical music programmes. For the World Service he introduced The Paperback Programme for over five years, and chaired a number of editions of The Poem Itself, which he devised. He reviewed television and books for The Times and various periodicals, and reviewed for The Good Book Guide from its inception. He was a member of the Grand Council of the Royal Academy of Dance, and for many years a member its Executive Committee, for some time as chairman of its Development Committee. He has been chairman of the Radiowriters Committee of the Society of Authors, was for two years (1981-2) chairman of its Management Committee, and between 1985 and 2002 edited its journal, The Author. He remains a member of its Council. Between 1969 and 2002 he was a member of the General Committee of the Royal Literary Fund (as Registrar between 1977 and 2002).
Parkers’ Astrology, first published in 1991 and revised and much enlarged in 2001, is generally regarded as the world’s best introduction to astrology, for beginners. The K.I.S.S. Guide to Astrology is a less ambitious introduction to the subject. Their book on dream interpretation, The Complete Book of Dreams, was another worldwide best-seller. Julia has published three novels, Hearts of Fire, The Stars Shine Bright and Coming South, and Derek has published biographies of Nell Gwyn, Casanova and Benvenuto Cellini, Pompilia: a Roman murder mystery, about a celebrated Italian murder case (the source of Browning’s poem The Ring and the Book) and Outback, about the early explorers of Australia. His biographies also include two Australian Governors (Phillip and Macquarie) and the Australian poet Banjo Paterson. In the 1960s he wrote twelve erotic novels based on 18th century life. He and Julia have jointly published an illustrated book on the buildings of Sydney, Building Sydney’s History, and a series of twelve anthologies of poetry, each book containing a selection of poems relating to a particular astrological sign. Several of these, and of earlier books, are available on-line.
Derek and Julia now live in Sydney with their two wire-haired fox terriers, Crim and Fille.
You may e-mail them at email@example.com or write to them
c/o Dorling Kindersley plc, 80, Strand, London WC2R 0RL.
Their literary agents are
David Higham Associates, 5 Lower John Street, London W1R 3PE.
Derek and Julia Parker
- The Compleat Astrologer (1971)
- The Compleat Lover (1972)
- Derek and Julia Parker’s Love Signs (1973)
- The Compleat Astrologer’s Love Signs (1974)
- The Immortals (1976)
- The Story and the Song: British musical comedy 1916-76 (1979)
- How Do You Know Why You Are? (1980)
- Do It Yourself Health (1982)
- A History of Astrology (1983)
- The New Compleat Astrologer (1984)
- Dreaming (1985)
- Life Signs (1986)
- A Traveller’s Guide to Egypt (1986)
- The Future Now (1988)
- A Traveller’s Guide to Cyprus (1989)
- A World Atlas of the Supernatural (1990)
- The Secret World of your Dreams (1990)
- Parkers’ Astrology (1991)
- The Power of Magic (1992)
- The Sun and Moon Signs Library (1992)
- Face Facts (1993)
- The Complete Book of Dreams (1995)
- Love Signs (1996)
- Parkers’ Astrology Pack (1997)
- Parkers’ Prediction Pack (1998)
- The Kiss Guide to Astrology (2000)
- Companion Guide to Astrology (2007)
- Parkers’ Encyclopaedia of Astrology (2010)
- Building Sydney’s History (2011)
- Poems of Love and Life for Aries/ Taurus/ Gemini &c.
- The Fall of Phaethon (1954)
- Company of Two (with Paul Casimir, 1955)
- Beyond Wisdom (verse play, 1957)
- Byron and his World (1968)
- The Twelfth Rose (ballet libretto, 1969)
- The Question of Astrology (1970)
- The Westcountry (1973)
- John Donne and his World (1975)
- Familiar to All: William Lilly and 17th century astrology (1975)
- Radio: the great years (1977)
- The Westcountry and the Sea (1980)
- The Memoirs of Cora Pearl (fiction, as William Blatchford, 1983)
- Fifteen erotic novels, published anonymously (1988-96)
- God of the Dance: Vaslav Nijinsky (1988)
- The Trade of Angels (fiction, 1988)
- The Royal Academy of Dancing: the first 75 years (1995)
- Writing Erotic Fiction (1995)
- Nell Gwyn (2000)
- Roman Murder Mystery: the true story of Pompilia (2001)
- Casanova (2002)
- Benvenuto Cellini (2004)
- Voltaire (2005)
- Outback (2008)
- Banjo Paterson (2009)
- Arthur Phillip (2010)
- Governor Macquarie (2010)
- A Devil’s Dictionary of Sex
- Gods of the Zodiac
- The Great Diaghilev
- Pompilia: a Roman Murder Mystery
- Death, Thou Shalt Die: the life of John Donne
- Liszt: an informal biography
- A Brief History of Western Astrology
- Nijinsky: God of the Dance
- Byron, the Impossible Hero
- Nell Gwyn and King Charles’ Other Ladies
- The Poetry Review (1966-70)
- Selected Letters of Edith Sitwell (with John Lehmann, 1970)
- Sacheverell Sitwell: a symposium (1975)
- An Anthology of Erotic Poetry (1980)
- An Anthology of Erotic Prose (1981)
- Love Confessed (1983)
- The Author (1985-2002)
- The Kings of England (1995)
- The Art of Love
- The Astrologer’s Pocket Almanac (1981)
- Signs of the Zodiac (1984)
- The Astrologer’s Handbook (1985)
- The Zodiac Family (1988)
- Hearts of Fire (fiction, 1985)
- The Stars Shine Bright (fiction, 1996)
- The Aquarian Orchid
- Elsinore: a prequel
Available on-line from Amazon Kindle and elsewhere are:
- Gods of the Zodiac ($3.00)
- The Great Diaghilev ($3.00)
- Pompilia: a Roman Murder Mystery ($6.99)
- Death, Thou Shalt Die: the life of John Donne ($5.99)
- Liszt: an informal biography ($5.00)
- A Brief History of Western Astrology ($9.95)
- The Great Years of BBC Radio ($5.99)
- Nijinsky: God of the Dance ($6.00)
- Byron: the impossible hero ($5.55)
- Nell Gwyn and King Charles’ Other Ladies ($5.95)
- The Art of Love (ed., $5.99)
- A Devil’s Dictionary of Sex ($3.)
- Summer in Switzerland: the travels of Shelley and Byron ($5)
- The Aquarian Orchid
- Elsinore:a prequel
- Coming South
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