Emma Townshend (born 28 March 1969) is an English writer and journalist, and the elder daughter of The Who's Pete Townshend.
Emma Townshend has written for The Observer, The Times and The Daily Telegraph, as well as for a wide selection of magazines, and is the Independent on Sunday's regular garden columnist. Townshend has appeared as a guest on radio and TV including the BBC World Service, Woman's Hour, A Hard Act to Follow, and Newsnight.
2 Music career,
4 Lecturing and writing career,
5 Literary work,
7 External links,
Emma Townshend was the first child born to Peter Dennis Blandford Townshend and his wife Karen (née Astley) (born Karen Sheila Astley, 12 June 1947, Grapenhall, Cheshire) in 1969. Pete Townshend was the eldest son of jazz musician Cliff Townshend and his wife Betty Dennis who sang with The Squadronaires during World War II. Karen Astley was the daughter of composer Ted Astley, best known for TV themes for shows including The Saint, and his wife Hazel Balbirnie, and also sister of record producer Jon Astley and singer/songwriter Virginia Astley. The couple met while attending Ealing School of Art and married in 1968. Emma has one sister, Aminta (b. 24 April 1971), and a brother, Joseph (b. 1989).
Of Townshend's four grandparents, three were professional musicians, all of whom had been in armed forces entertainment during the war. Emma's father Pete Townshend was the lead guitarist and principal songwriter of the rock band The Who. As a baby, her parents took her to Woodstock in a carrycot, and she was brought up following the teachings of the Indian spiritual leader Meher Baba.
Emma studied history at King's College, Cambridge then specialised in history of science, receiving a Masters from Imperial College, London. She then returned to Cambridge for doctoral studies, leaving before writing up her thesis, to sign to East West Records. She began teaching undergraduates in Cambridge and since then has taught in adult education for over 15 years, including for the Workers Educational Association, Birkbeck and Oxford University's Department of Continuing Education; she has also been a Visiting Lecturer at City University, London. She is the author of one book, Darwin's Dogs: How Darwin's Pets Helped Form a World-Changing Theory of Evolution (2009).
In 1982 Emma and her sister Minta made their professional music debut singing back-up on A Bao A Qu, a four-track EP by their aunt, singer-songwriter Virginia Astley. Emma also sang back-up on Pete Townshend's White City: A Novel album released in 1985, and appeared in the film of the same title.
Townshend's record deal with EastWest Records, part of the Warner Music Group, extended from 1995-1998, and she released the album Winterland in 1998. The album was well received, garnering good reviews. Her song "We Can Fly Away" was the theme song in the 1999 made for TV movie The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns, which also featured The Who's Roger Daltrey in an acting role. The same song was used in the Eragon Video Game in 2006.