Tim Butcher

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Tim Butcher (born 15 November 1967) is an English journalist, broadcaster and author. He is the author of The Trigger, Blood River and Chasing the Devil, travel books blending contemporary adventure with history.


His most recent book, The Trigger – Hunting the Assassin who Brought the World to War was published in May 2014 by Chatto & Windus, an imprint of Random House. It tells the story of Gavrilo Princip, the teenage assassin who triggered the First World War by assassinating Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914.

As a journalist between 1990 and 2009 Butcher worked for The Daily Telegraph newspaper, holding a series of positions including leader writer, war correspondent, Africa Bureau Chief and Middle East Correspondent.

As an author he published in 2007 his first book Blood River: A Journey to Africa's Broken Heart, an account of his 2004 journey through DR Congo overland from Lake Tanganyika and down the Congo River, following the route of Henry Morton Stanley's 1874–77 trans-Africa expedition. The book was published by Chatto & Windus, an imprint of Random House, and reached Number 1 in the Sunday Times bestseller list in March 2008.[citation needed] Translated into six languages, Blood River was the only non-fiction title in the Richard & Judy Book Club 2008 and was shortlisted that year for a number of British writing awards including the Samuel Johnson Prize, the Dolman Best Travel Book Award and the Writers' Guild of Great Britain Best Book award. The book’s Polish version, Rzeka Krwi (Translated by Jakub Czernik and published in 2009 by Carta Blanca) was longlisted for the 2010 Ryszard Kapuściński Prize.[citation needed]

Butcher's second major work, Chasing the Devil: The Search for Africa’s Fighting Spirit, describes a 350 mile trek through Sierra Leone and Liberia following a trail blazed by Graham Greene and recounted in Greene's Journey Without Maps, published in 1936.

In 2009 Butcher wrote a chapter for Because I am a Girl, a charitable compilation of stories focusing on the plight of young women and girls in the developing world. Published in January 2010 by Vintage, an imprint of Random House, the book was the brainchild of a Plan International, a leading children’s rights aid group. He also contributed a chapter to Ox Travels, another compilation, this time on behalf of Oxfam, the international confederation working against poverty and injustice, which was released in May 2011.

In 2010 he received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Northampton in the United Kingdom for service as a journalist and author, and in 2013 he was awarded the Mungo Park Medal by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society in recognition of achievements as an explorer and educator.

He is a regular contributor to the BBC radio programme From Our Own Correspondent and has written for numerous British, US and international publications.[citation needed]

In May 2014 he In 2012 Blood River became a text used in AS Level English Language and Literature Combined, alongside Joseph Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness.'[citation needed]