John Hargreaves was born in Wakefield in 1950. He grew up in north Lancashire where his father ran a wholesale fruit and vegetable business, part of an extended family firm reaching across Lancashire and Yorkshire. He graduated from Clare College, Cambridge, with a degree in natural science. He is married to early years educator and author Nancy Stewart (Your Baby, How Children Learn, et al). John and Nancy raised their four children in north Shropshire, where they have built a house and planted a forest garden.
As a freelance journalist specialising in food and country issues, John has written for many titles including The Guardian, New Statesman, Hemispheres, Convivium, Taste, Ideal Home, and Country Living. For ten years he wrote a gardening column in Here’s Health. He has also published Harvests and Harvesters (Gollancz), Doctor Clegg’s Machete (Tangible Press) and three genre novels (Nexus/Virgin Books). He regularly reviews theatre productions for West Midlands media.
John has a keen interest in education. He has taught a wide range of courses in a number of prisons, most notably HMP and YOI Drake Hall where he helped women write, edit and produce The Key – a magazine which won them numerous Koestler Awards. He has served on two school governor boards, and chaired a co-operative foundation trust.
For almost a decade John worked in local government public relations – starting as part-time press officer for Shropshire County Council and finishing as the council’s head of communications.