Profile: Frederick Forsyth
Born: 25 August 1938
Intelligence involvement: Occasional work for MI6. Served in the RAF.
Culture involvement: Author of widely read and acclaimed thrillers most notably The Day of the Jackal, Icon and The Odessa File. Many of these books were subsequently adapted for the big screen.
Bio: Frederick Forsyth was born to a middle class family in Ashford, Kent in 1938. He was educated at Tonbridge School and the University of Granada and then joined the RAF as a jet fighter pilot. In the early 1960s he became a journalist, initially working for Reuters and then the BBC.
He published his first book The Biafra Story in 1969, based on his experiences reporting on the Nigerian Civil War. His first novel The Day of the Jackal was published in 1971 and launched Forsyth to a position of international prominence. Numerous further thriller novels followed, always fictional but based on meticulous research about real world events.
Politically Forsyth is a categorically right wing conservative, very pro-military and pro-monarchy. Despite the huge success of his written work he is not a particularly wealthy man, having lost large sums to dodgy investments and ponzi schemes.
In June 1982, following the conclusion of the Falklands war, Forsyth wrote to the British Prime Minister requesting help with a book he proposed to write about the conflict. Forsyth sought access to as many as 500 officials, army officers, soldiers and others so he could interview them and whittle them down to 50 through whose eyes he would tell the full story of the Falklands. Despite much initial enthusiasm for the project the Prime Minister’s office ultimately didn’t give Forsyth the help he wanted because it would open the floodgates to similar requests from other authors.
You can download the files from the office of the Prime Minister regarding Forsyth’s book proposal and the discussions about whether to give him the help he requested, here (PDF, 4.71MB).
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