Sarah Helm

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Sarah Helm (born 2 November 1956) is a British journalist and non-fiction writer. She worked for The Sunday Times and The Independent in the 1980s and 1990s. Her first book A Life in Secrets, detailing the life of the secret agent Vera Atkins, was published in 2005.[1][2]


On completing her English studies at the University of Cambridge, Helm became a reporter for The Sunday Times. In 1986, she moved to the newly founded The Independent where she wrote several official secrets articles. For her coverage of the Spycatcher controversy she received the British Press Award for Specialist Writer of the Year.[1] In 1987, she won the Laurence Stern Fellowship, allowing her to work as an intern for The Washington Post.[3] As The Independent's Diplomatic Editor from 1989, she covered the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Gulf War and developments in the Middle East. From 1995, she covered European affairs in Brussels.[1]

In 2007, Helm married her long-time partner, Jonathan Powell, who had been Tony Blair's chief of staff since 1997.[4]

Helm's first book, A Life in Secrets: The Story of Vera Atkins and the Lost Agents of SOE (2005) traces the lives of missing female members of the Special Operations Executive and intricate details of the woman who searched for them. It was highly acclaimed by both The New York Times and The Washington Post.[2][5] Her play Loyalty (2011) is a semi-fictional view of the Iraq War, said to have drawn on the views of her husband who was Tony Blair's chief of staff.[6] Her latest book, If This Is A Woman: Inside Ravensbruck: Hitler's Concentration Camp for Women (2015), provides accounts of the lives and deaths of thousands of women prisoners in the Ravensbrück concentration camp.[7]


  1. ^ a b c "Sarah Helm, Writer". United Agents.
  2. ^ a b Grimes, William (30 August 2006). "Woman on a Hunt for Spies Who Didn't Come Home". New York Times. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  3. ^ "Laurence Stern Fellowship at the Washington Post". National Press Foundation. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  4. ^ "Sarah Helm on Tony Blair's Labour government". The Telegraph. 12 July 2011. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  5. ^ Roosevelt, Selwa (27 August 2006). "Bond, Jane Bond". The Washington Post. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  6. ^ Benedictus, Leo (22 July 2011). "What to say about ... Sarah Helm's Loyalty". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  7. ^ Reich, Walter (7 April 2015). "'Ravensbrück,' by Sarah Helm". New York Times. Retrieved 13 April 2016.