Peter Stothard

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Peter Stothard
Born (1951-02-28) 28 February 1951 (age 71)
EducationBrentwood School
Alma materTrinity College, Oxford
News UK
SpouseRuth Scurr
Children2, including Anna

Sir Peter Stothard (born 28 February 1951) is a British author, journalist and critic. From 1992 to 2002 he was editor of The Times and from 2002 to 2016 editor of The Times Literary Supplement, the only journalist to have held both roles. He writes books about Roman history and his four books of memoir cover both political and classical themes.

Early life[edit]

He was the son of Max Stothard, an electrical engineer who worked at the Marconi Research Centre, Great Baddow. He grew up on the nearby Rothmans Estate.[1] He was educated at Brentwood School, Essex (1962–68); and Trinity College, Oxford, where he became editor of Oxford University student newspaper Cherwell.


Stothard joined the BBC after leaving university, and wrote for the New Statesman, New Society and Plays and Players. He joined The Sunday Times in 1978 and The Times in 1981, becoming chief leader writer, deputy editor and, based in Washington, US editor. He published Thirty Days: An Inside Account of Tony Blair at War (HarperCollins, 2010, ISBN 978-0-06-058262-3) in 2004, based on observations inside Downing Street during the Iraq War.

During a stage of Stothard's editorship, The Times reached an average sale of over 900,000 – the highest in its history. This was, in part, the result of the so-called "price war" that started in 1993 when The Times reduced its cover price and started intense circulation battles against The Daily Telegraph and The Independent.

In 1999, he became involved in a controversial legal dispute over political funding with the Conservative Party Treasurer Michael Ashcroft. Lord Ashcroft sued, but subsequently withdrew his suit after a statement agreed by both parties.

Stothard was named as Editor of the Year in the same year by Granada Television's What the Papers Say.

In 2000, he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and was away from The Times for 10 months for successful treatment.

Whilst editor of The Times Literary Supplement, he often wrote about Greek and Roman literature.

In 2010, his first book of memoir, On the Spartacus Road (Harper Press, 2011, 978-0-00-73408-4), combined an account of the Spartacus uprising with elements of autobiography. His second, Alexandria, The Last Nights of Cleopatra (Granta, 2012, 978-1-84708-703-5), extended the same form, including accounts of newspaper life alongside the story of his engagement with Greece, Rome and Egypt. Alexandria... won the 2013 Criticos Prize for literature on themes from ancient or modern Greece. The Senecans: Four Men and Margaret Thatcher, his memoir of the 1980s and '90s, was published in September 2016. The critic Stuart Kelly described Stothard as "one of the most avant-garde practitioners of the form".

He was chairman of judges for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction (2012) and President of the Classical Association.[2] In 2017, he was appointed a Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery. Stothard appears as a character briefly in the first scene of a one-level Tomb Raider expansion videogame made by Core Design in association with The Times.[3] The expansion is called Times Exclusive Level and was released in 2000.

Personal life[edit]

He is married to the biographer and critic Ruth Scurr. He has a son, Michael (born 1987), and a daughter, the novelist Anna Stothard (born 1983) from a previous marriage to Sally Emerson.[4]


Insignia of Knight Bachelor

He was knighted for services to the newspaper industry in 2003.

In 2013, he was awarded the President's Medal by the British Academy.[2][5]


Book reviews[edit]

Date Review article Work(s) reviewed
2015 Stothard, Peter (November 2015). "Margaret Thatcher and the Britain she left behind". The Times Literary Supplement. Moore, Charles (2011). Margaret Thatcher. Allen Lane. ISBN 978-0-7139-9288-5.
2015 Stothard, Peter (April 2015). "How the Romans went about their business". Spectator. Koloski-Ostrow, Ann Olga (2015). The Archaeology of Sanitation in Roman Italy : Toilets, Sewers, and Water Systems. The University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 978-1-4696-2128-9.
2015 Stothard, Peter (May 2015). "Cities on the bay". The Times Literary Supplement. Hughes, Jessica (2015). Remembering Parthenope. OUP. ISBN 978-0-19-967393-3.
2015 Stothard, Peter (July 2015). "Antonia Fraser's summer afternoons". The Times Literary Supplement. Fraser, Antonia (2015). My History. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 978-0-297-87190-3.
2015 Stothard, Peter (March 2012). "The Ancient Art Of Fooling Voters". Wall Street Journal. Cicero, Quintus Tullius (2015). How to Win an Election. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-15408-4.
2014 Stothard, Peter (November 2014). "All the roads to Waterloo". The Times Literary Supplement. Uglow, Jenny (2014). In These Times : Living in Britain through Napoleon's wars, 1793–1815. Faber. ISBN 978-0-571-26952-5.
2011 Stothard, Peter (September 2011). "The old BC/AD, BCE/CE : errors abound in Robert Hughes' history of Rome". Australian Book Review. 334: 8–9. Hughes, Robert (2011). Rome. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 978-0-297-84464-8.


  1. ^ Stothard, Peter (Winter 2009). "Essex Clay". Granta. Archived from the original on 23 May 2013. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
  2. ^ a b "British Academy President's Medal Awarded to Sir Peter Stothard". The British Academy. 2013. Archived from the original on 2 May 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  3. ^ "Times Exclusive Level: FMV Transcripts". Archived from the original on 29 April 2011.
  4. ^ Nick Clark, "The bionic book worm", The Independent, 24 September 2012.
  5. ^ "The British Academy President's Medal". British Academy. Retrieved 23 July 2017.

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by Deputy Editor of The Times
Succeeded by
Preceded by Editor of The Times
Succeeded by