John Clay was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1998.
John Clay’s first biography was of Culbertson, The Man who Made Contract Bridge (Weidenfeld, 1985). This was followed by the life of the novelist John Masters, A Regimented Life (Hodder and Stoughton, 1987). After training as a Jungian Psychotherapist, he wrote Men at Midlife (Sedgwick and Jackson, 1989) and then a biography of R D Laing, A Divided Self (Hodder and Stoughton, 1996). A second bridge book followed, Tales from the Bridge Table (Hodder and Stoughton, 1998). Having helped start up Peper Harow, a therapeutic community for disturbed adolescents, in the 1970s, he next wrote Maconochie’s Experiment (John Murray, 2002), which described a transformative penal colony set up in Australia in the 1840s. Since then, he has written a family history and memoir, Getting There (privately published, 2020).