Nicholas Rankin

Nicholas Rankin


A journalist and professional author for four decades, Nicholas Rankin has written six non-fiction books published by Faber. They include Telegram from Guernica, the first biography of George Steer, the anti-fascist reporter and friend of Haile Selassie, Churchill's Wizards, a study of British camouflage and deception, and Ian Fleming's Commandos, about the writer's role in naval intelligence. 

Nick worked for twenty years as a broadcaster on the staff of the BBC World Service, where he ended up Chief Producer and won two U.N. awards. He has always enjoyed working in a team - all radio is collaborative - learning from and listening to others while contributing to the shared task. He continues to present BBC radio documentaries freelance, most recently in summer 2022, making his third radio feature about the Lakota Sioux people, now struggling to protect their water and their culture in the Great Plains.

Nick has long been interested in diversity and valued different voices. His new book, Mau Mau & Me, forthcoming in 2023, is a history and a memoir of racial conflict in colonial Kenya. 

Why Nick stood for the Management Committee:

"These are challenging times for authors, with incomes declining. I have seen the ups and downs of the literary life for both older and younger writers, being married to one novelist, Maggie Gee, and the father of another, Rosa Rankin-Gee. I have also fought for authors' reputations and their estates. Because of my book 'Telegram from Guernica', the great reporter G.L. Steer now has a bust in Gernika and a Bilbao street named after him, and I am invited back to the Basque country every spring. As the author of 'Dead Man's Chest: travels after Robert Louis Stevenson' I made sure that the books and papers of E.J. Mehew (the independent scholar who almost single-handedly edited the letters of R.L.S. in 8 volumes for Yale University Press, despite never having gone to college himself), went to the National Library of Scotland and Edinburgh Napier University where they are available to the public. As part of the process of literary executorship, I also ensured that Ernest's disabled widow Joyce was cared for comfortably for the rest of her life.  

I have always believed in 'the republic of letters' and I know how writers' trade unions are vital in sustaining it.  I've been in the National Union of Journalists and the Society of Authors for forty years. Both have helped me professionally. I have sold all my books to Faber myself, without using a literary agent, and the SoA has vetted all my publishing contracts and given me good advice. Having enjoyed the benefits of membership, I think it is time to give something back to the organisation and to you, my fellow writers, illustrators and translators. If elected, I believe I could play a helpful role on the Management Committee, using my voice and commitment to literature to lobby industry and government and further the best aims of our 140-year-old Society."