Henry Porter (journalist)
Henry Porter (born 1953) is an English author and journalist. He is a writer of thrillers and was, until 2014, a regular columnist for The Observer. He is also the British editor of Vanity Fair and writes regularly on British and European politics for Vanity Fair’s The Hive website. He was on the Orwell Prize's journalism shortlist for 2009, and wrote the award-winning novel Brandenburg, also titled Brandenburg Gate. He was on the short list for the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for his novels Empire State and the Dying Light.
Activism and events
In 2005, Porter set up the West London Tsunami Appeal, which, in two weeks, raised £70K that was distributed in areas devastated by the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami on 26 December 2004.
In 2008, Porter co-founded the Convention on Modern Liberty with his friend Anthony Barnett. They co-directed the event, which was held on 28 February 2009 at the Logan Hall in London and in parallel meetings across the country. Speakers included the writer Philip Pullman, the former Lord Chief Justice, Lord Bingham, the former Director of Public Prosecutions, Lord MacDonald QC and Conservative MP David Davis and the former Attorney General Lord Goldsmith QC.
In November 2013, he part-funded and directed the Snowden debates at the Jarvis Auditorium in the Royal Institute of British Architects, London. The event was designed to explore the implications of leaks by the NSA contractor Edward Snowden, published by, among others, the Guardian during the summer of 2013 Contributors included David Davis MP.
In June 2015, Porter co-directed the Vanity Fair-Intelligence Squared Digital Summit, held in Shoreditch Town Hall, London.
In the winter of 2016, Porter began planning the Convention on Brexit and the Political Crash, to be held in London during the spring of 2017. The Convention took place in Central Hall, Westminster on 12-13 May 2017.
Porter describes his politics as centre-left. In the 2010 General Election, he was one of a number of well-known writers to support the Liberal Democrats, and, in the years running up to that election, he contributed to the party’s thinking on the threat of intrusive surveillance and the ID card. In 2016, he was strongly in favour of Britain remaining in the EU. On the day after the referendum, he wrote, “As I explained to my Brexit friends in a blog post this week, I would be a very sore loser if we came out. ‘I will be in mourning for a project that was as brave and beautiful as anything in European history,’ I wrote. And I am.” Porter is the founder of www.brexitrecord.com, a site that aggregates stories about the economic impact of Britain’s decision to leave the EU.
In December 2016, Porter wrote that "Not much has changed in the past 70 years. Just because we live in a post-ideological world — one where Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump may confront each other with the dismal recognition of gangsters — doesn’t mean that Russia has dropped its primary mission of destabilizing Europe." He also wrote that Russian President Putin is "a former K.G.B. agent who, it is no accident, shares the name Vladimir Ilyich with Lenin."
Porter is married to Liz Elliot, Editor-at-Large for House and Garden, whom he met when they both worked on Private Eye magazine in the 1970s. They have two adult daughters. Porter is a keen artist and draftsman. In 2015 he was surprised to find himself elected as the President of Birlingham Cricket Club whose ground in Worcestershire he inherited from his father Harry Porter in 2014.
- Remembrance Day (2000)
- A Spy’s Life (2001)
- Empire State (2003)
- Brandenburg (2005)
- The Dying Light (2009)
- The Bell Ringers (2010)
The Bell Ringers is The Dying Light in the US market.
- The Master of the Fallen Chairs (2008)
- Three Great Novels (Remembrance Day, A Spy’s Life, Empire State (2005)
- "Is Putin’s Master Plan Only Beginning?". Vanity Fair. 28 December 2016.
- "Vanity Fair Says It's ‘No Accident’ Putin and Lenin Share the Same Patronymic, Even Though They Don't". The Moscow Times. 29 December 2016.