About

IAN BIRRELL

– Contributing editor of The Mail on Sunday as foreign reporter and commentator. Weekly column in  the ‘i’ paper. Also writes for The Times, The Washington Post, The Daily Mail, The Observer,  The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Sun, The Spectator and UnHerd. Previously published in many other papers, platforms and magazines.

– Foreign correspondent who has reported from more than 50 countries including Albania, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, France, Gabon, Ghana, Greece, Haiti, Iraq, Israel, Liberia, Libya, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Somalia, South Africa, Serbia, Syria, Tanzania, Uganda, Ukraine, US and Zimbabwe.

– Winner of Foreign Reporter of the Year (2015) and Columnist of the Year (2015) in British Press Awards – a unique double triumph. Winner of London Press Club’s prestigious Edgar Wallace Award (2013) for fine writing and reporting. Winner of Popular Journalism category in British Journalism Awards (2018). Winner of Health Reporter (2018) in British Press Awards. Winner of Amnesty International media award for news reporting (2019). Highly commended as Foreign Reporter (2011) and Feature Writer (2013, 2017 & 2018) in British Press Awards. Shortlisted in 29 other awards for commentary, criminal justice, feature writing, foreign and news reporting, economic analysis, health, human rights, investigations, political comment, science writing and ‘contrarianism’ since 2011.

– Frequent broadcaster on television and radio, including Newsnight, Channel 4 News, The Andrew Marr Show, Dateline London, Today, PM, 5Live and The World Tonight. Presented & wrote BBC Panorama documentary on Texas prison reforms.

– Previously worked at top level of national newspapers for more than two decades, holding senior executive positions at The Sunday Times, Daily Mail and Sunday Express before becoming deputy editor-in-chief of The Independent for 12 years, leaving in March 2010.

– Adviser and speech-writer for David Cameron in the run-up to the 2010 general election.

– Founder and joint curator of Britain’s first Politics Festival,  launched at Kings Place, London, in June 2017.

– Regular speaker at events and adviser to clients on crisis management, media training, public relations, change and transparency (Bookings: info@northbanktalent.com +44 (0)20 7766 5220)

– Co-founder with Damon Albarn of Africa Express, which promotes African music and brings together musicians from around the world. Organised trips to five African nations; staged acclaimed concerts in the UK, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Holland, Spain, Turkey, South Africa and Nigeria; taken a train filled with musicians around Britain as part of the Olympic festivities; and reformed a Syrian orchestra & choir to tour Europe.

– Executive producer of five albums: Africa Express presents…, a compilation of African music selected by Western artists;  ‘Africa Express presents…Maison des Jeunes’, an album of new Malian music; ‘Africa Express presents…Terry Riley’s In C Mali’, the first African recording of the minimalist classic which was debuted at Tate Modern; ‘Africa Express presents…The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians’, a live album of reformed orchestra from 2016 European tour; ‘Africa Express presents…EGOLI’, an album of new South African music.

– Married with two children, the youngest of whom has profound and multiple learning difficulties.