Robert Harris was born in 1957 in Nottingham, England. He studied English literature at Cambridge University, where he wrote for the student newspaper. Harris then joined the BBC, working on the current affairs programmes Panorama and Newsnight, before becoming political editor of the Observer. He also wrote columns for the Sunday Times and the Daily Telegraph. He now lives in Berkshire, England, with his wife and four children. His wife, Gill Hornby, is also a writer, and sister of the novelist Nick Hornby. He is close friends with fellow journalist and political reporter Jeremy Paxman.
Harris was at first a supporter of Blair and the New Labour party, but the war in Iraq, along with the dismissal of his friend Peter Mandelson, cooled his enthusiasm towards the Prime Minister. Harris’ 2007 book The Ghost was written as a veiled criticism of Tony Blair. It has recently been adapted into a movie starring Ewan McGregor, directed by Roman Polanski.
Harris’ first book was a non-fiction look at chemical and biological warfare, A Higher Form of Killing, written with Jeremy Paxman in 1982. Four more non-fiction works followed before he wrote his first novel, Fatherland, in 1992. Fatherland is an alternate history set in an imagined world where Germany has won World War II. The novel sold over three million copies and attracted much critical praise, enabling him to work as a novelist full-time. In 1995 he published his second novel, Enigma, about the breaking of the Nazi code. Archangel, in 1998, was another huge success.
In 2003, Harris wrote his first novel set in ancient Rome. Pompeii, another international bestseller, revolved around the events of the 79 AD eruption of Vesuvius. This was followed in 2006 with Imperium, centred on the life of the famous orator Cicero and the first of a three part series. The second instalment, Lustrum, was published in October 2009, and the final book is due for release in 2011. Harris has drawn comparisons between events in Rome and the current war on terror, but states that the Cicero novels are not meant to be understood as modern politics in togas.
Robert Harris on Cicero and Imperium:
Robert Harris at Random House
Robert Harris at Simon and Schuster
Robert Harris info from Waterstones bookshop
The Ghost (2007)
A Higher Form of Killing: Secret Story of Gas and Germ Warfare (1982 with Jeremy Paxman)
Gotcha! The Government, the Media and the Falklands Crisis (1983)
The Making of Neil Kinnock (1984)
Selling Hitler: Story of the Hitler Diaries (1986)
Good and Faithful Servant: Unauthorized Biography of Bernard Ingham (1990)