Jacky Colliss Harvey is a writer and editor. She read English at Cambridge University and Art history at the Courtauld Institute. She has worked in museum publishing for the last twenty years and is known as a commentator and reviewer, speaking in both the U.K. and abroad on the arts and their relation to popular culture. At the same time, her red hair has also found her an alternative career as a life model and a film extra playing everything from a society lady in Atonement to a Parisian whore in Bel-Ami. She lives in London.
According to Grant McCracker, author of Big Hair: A Journey into The Transformation of Self (1995), "The study of hair does not take you to the superficial edges of our society... It takes you, instead, to the center of things." In Red, Harvey drills down to that center to find a mother lode of lore and more about the hair color found in just two per cent of the world's population. Beginning with our earliest ancestors and continuing down through the ages, this witty, wide-ranging study examines red hair through the lenses of art, literature, science, sexuality, culture, religion and politics. Fascinating facts abound. For example, we learn that the gene for red hair did not originate in Ireland or Scotland, as we might expect, but in the people who migrated from Africa to the grasslands of central Asia and, eventually, into Europe. Old wives' tales, scientific discoveries, historical accounts, fads in fashion, and trends in the arts are mined to great effect, resulting in a comprehensive and thoroughly enjoyable narrative embellished with stunning illustrations and photographs. Carolyn Mulac, Booklist"