Patrick Cockburn

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Patrick Oliver Cockburn (/ˈkbɜrn/ KOH-burn; born 5 March 1950) is an Irish journalist who has been a Middle East correspondent since 1979 for the Financial Times and, presently, The Independent.[citation needed]

He has written four books on Iraq's recent history. He won the Martha Gellhorn Prize in 2005, the James Cameron Prize in 2006, the Orwell Prize for Journalism in 2009,[1] and Foreign Commentator of the Year (Editorial Intelligence Comment Awards 2013).

Early life and family[edit]

Cockburn was born in Ireland and grew up in County Cork, Ireland. His parents were the well-known socialist author and journalist Claud Cockburn and his third wife Patricia Byron, née Arbuthnot (who also wrote an autobiography, Figure of Eight). He was educated at Glenalmond College, Perthshire, and Trinity College, Oxford.[citation needed]

Cockburn married in 1981 Janet Elisabeth ("Jan") Montefiore (14 November 1948), an English Lecturer at the University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, daughter of Rt. Rev. Hugh Montefiore, and has two children, Henry Claud Cockburn (4 January 1982) and Alexander Cockburn (1987).[2] He has two brothers, the late Alexander Cockburn and Andrew Cockburn, also journalists, and a half-sister, mystery writer Sarah Caudwell. Journalists Laura Flanders and Stephanie Flanders are his half-nieces, daughters of his half-brother-in-law Michael Flanders, and actress Olivia Wilde is his niece, daughter of his sister-in-law Leslie Cockburn.[citation needed]


Cockburn has written three books on Iraq. One, Out of the Ashes: The Resurrection of Saddam Hussein, was written with his brother Andrew Cockburn prior to the war in Iraq. The same book was later re-published in Britain with the title Saddam Hussein: An American Obsession. Two more were written by Patrick alone after the U.S. invasion, following his reporting from Iraq. The first, The Occupation: War and Resistance in Iraq (2006) mixes first hand accounts with reporting, Cockburn's book is critical of the invasion as well as the Salafi fundamentalists who comprise much of the insurgency. The Occupation was nominated for the 2006 National Book Critics Circle award for nonfiction. The second, Muqtada: Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shia Revival, and the Struggle for Iraq was published in 2008. Muqtada is a journalistic account of the recent history of the religiously and politically prominent Sadr family, the rise of Muqtada, and the development of the Sadrist movement since the 2003 U.S. invasion.[citation needed]

Cockburn's memoir is The Broken Boy (2005), a memoir of his childhood in 1950s Ireland, as well as an investigation of the way polio was handled – Cockburn himself caught and survived polio at the time.[3] He has also published a collection of essays on the Soviet Union, titled Getting Russia Wrong: The End of Kremlinology (1989) and co-wrote the book Henry's Demons with his son, Henry which explains their coming to terms with the latter's diagnosis with schizophrenia.[4] He also writes for CounterPunch and the London Review of Books.[5]




  1. ^ a b c d "The Jihadis Return". OR Books. 2014. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  2. ^ Charles Mosley, editor, Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes (Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003), volume 1, page 120.
  3. ^ Peter Preston, The Observer, 12 June 2005, When polio stalked the land
  4. ^ Amanda Mitchison (5 February 2011). "Living with schizophrenia". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  5. ^ "Patrick Cockburn". London Review of Books. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  6. ^ "Independent's Patrick Cockburn wins 'Peace Through Media Award'". New Statesman. 10 May 2010. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  7. ^ Stephen Brook "Independent's Patrick Cockburn wins 2009 Orwell journalism prize", The Guardian, 23 April 2009