- The Guardian
David McKie was born in 1935, and works as a journalist and author.
He was deputy editor of The Guardian, and still writes two weekly columns for the paper - 'Elsewhere' and 'Smallweed'. He is the author of several non-fiction books about contemporary politics, and, most recently, the biography of Victorian politician and swindler, Jabez Balfour. His book, Jabez: the Rise and Fall of a Victorian Rogue (2004), was shortlisted for the 2004 Saga Wit Award and the Whitbread Biography Award.
His latest books are McKie's Gazetteer: A Local History of Britain (2008), Bright Particular Stars: A Gallery of Glorious British Eccentrics (2011) and What's in a Surname (2013).
I have always wanted to write and started doing so when I was about eight years old. At 15, I wanted to leave school and go into newspapers but was very rightly dissuaded. I started in newspapers on the Keighley News and Bingley Chronicle in 1959, joined the Oxford Mail in 1960 and The Guardian in 1965. At that time, I wanted to get into political reporting but after three years as a lobby correspondent, I returned to the office as deputy editor for nearly 10 years. With one exception - the history of the third London airport which I wrote for a friend who had just set up a publishing company - my books before Jabez: the Rise and Fall of a Political Rogue were collaborations or spin-offs from my work at The Guardian. I partially retired in 1995 and came by chance on the story of the Victorian politician-fraudster, Jabez Spencer Balfour. Having been persuaded in 1995 to return to full-time work for two years, I put it aside but resumed it in 2001.