David Chambers was born in Belfast in 1932, to a Scottish mother and afather whose family came to Co Down as tenant farmers in Elizabethan times.
After going to school in Belfast and majoring in philosophy at university, he spent seven years in the US first as a graduate student and then as a lecturer in economics. Since that time he has lived in London. He and his wife Hilary, a Londoner, met when both were working in Chicago.
They have five children.