Jeffrey Archer, a former politician and bestselling author, who has written seventeen novels to date with sales of over 250 million books. An adept orator and after dinner speaker whose own story would make an international bestseller.
Jeffrey Archer is a former politician who was Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party under Margaret Thatcher. He has been a millionaire and on the brink of bankruptcy. In 2001, he was also charged with perjury and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, resulting in a two-year jail term.
Jeffrey was born in London, brought up in Somerset, the son of a printer, and educated at Wellington School, and Brasenose College, Oxford, where he gained an athletics blue, was President of the University Athletics Club, and went on to run the 100 yards in 9.6 seconds for Great Britain in 1966.
After leaving Oxford he was elected to the Greater London Council, and three years later at the age of 29, he became Member of Parliament for Louth. After five years in the Commons and a promising political career ahead of him, he invested heavily in a Canadian company called Aquablast, on the advice of the Bank of Boston. The company went into liquidation, and three directors were later sent to jail for fraud. Left with debts of £427,727, and on the brink of bankruptcy, he resigned from the House of Commons.
Aged 34, determined to repay his creditors in full, he sat down to write his first novel Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less. It sold to 17 countries within a year and was made into a successful serial for BBC Radio 4, and televised by the BBC. This success was followed by subsequent bestsellers, Shall We Tell the President, The Prodigal Daughter and Kane and Abel which became the number one bestseller in hardcover and paperwork all over the world and sold over 3.5 million in the UK paperback edition alone.
Subsequent novels included, A Quiver Full of Arrows, First Among Equals, A Matter of Honour, A Twist in the Tale, As the Crow Flies and Honour Among Thieves. His 10th novel The Eleventh Commandment published in 1998 spent 24 weeks on the Sunday Times Bestseller’s List. In March 2008 A Prisoner of Birth topped the bestseller lists around the world going to No.1 in the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and India. It spent four weeks in the top 10 on The New York Times Bestseller list. In addition to all of his bestsellers, Jeffrey is also a playwright and has written three plays.
Jeffrey was Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party from September 1985 until November 1986. In 1991, he was coordinator for the Campaign for Kurdish Relief, and he is also an amateur auctioneer, having raised more than £12 million in the last 10 years. Jeffrey was made a Life Peer in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List of 1992.
Having run a successful campaign for Mayor of London for two-and-a-half years, from 1997, Jeffrey was selected as the official Conservative Party Candidate for London’s Mayor in October 1999 by an overwhelming majority. In November that same year, he withdrew his candidacy, having been charged with perjury and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. He was sentenced to four years imprisonment, and was released in July 2003, having served two years.
Jeffrey Archer has published three volumes relating to his time in prison. Prison Diary; Volume 1, Hell, a searing account of his first three weeks in the high security prison, HMP Belmarsh; Volume II, Purgatory, set in HMP Wayland, a C category prison; and the third and final volume, Heaven, about his final transfer to an open prison.
Jeffrey has now been published in 97 countries and more than 37 languages, with international sales passing 250 million copies.
Jeffrey has been married for 40 years to Dr. Mary Archer, who is chairman of Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (incorporating Addenbrooke’s and the Rosie Hospitals in Cambridge). They have two sons, William and James. They divide their time between homes in London and Cambridge.