Search - List of Books by Martin Sixsmith
Martin Sixsmith (born 1954) is a British author, journalist and radio/television presenter.
Total Books: 27
EducationSixsmith was born in Cheshire and educated at the Manchester Grammar School, then at Oxford, Harvard, the Sorbonne University in Paris, and in St. Petersburg (then Leningrad), in Russia. He was a Slavics Tutor at Harvard and wrote his postgraduate thesis about Russian poetry.
Sixsmith joined the BBC in 1980 where he worked as a foreign correspondent, most notably reporting from Moscow during the end of the Cold War. He also reported from Poland during the Solidarity uprising and was the BBC’s Washington correspondent during the election and first presidency of Bill Clinton. He left the BBC in 1997 to work for the newly elected government of Tony Blair. He became Director of Communications (a civil service post), working first with Harriet Harman, and Frank Field, then with Alistair Darling. His next position was as a Director of GEC plc, where he oversaw the rebranding of the company as Marconi plc.
In December 2001, he returned to the Civil Service to join the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions as Director of Communications in time to become embroiled in the second act of the scandal over Jo Moore. Moore was special adviser to the transport secretary Stephen Byers and had been the subject of much public condemnation for suggesting that a controversial announcement should be "buried" during the media coverage of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
In February 2002 the row flared up again when a leak to the press alleged that Moore had made further attempts to "bury" bad news on the day of a major event. It was backed up by a copy of an email from Sixsmith saying "Princess Margaret is being buried [on Friday]. I will absolutely not allow anything else to be". Moore said the email was a fabrication, and on Thursday 14 February the prime minister's official spokesman Godric Smith said that no such email existed, an assertion which was repeated in the House of Commons by Leader of the House Robin Cook. Later that day, however, transport department officials revealed that an email had been sent from Sixsmith to Byers and copied to Moore.
On Friday 15 February Byers announced that both Moore and Sixsmith had agreed to resign. A week later Sixsmith gave an interview in which he said that he had not agreed to resign. Furthermore, he claimed that Byers had insisted on his departure as the price for losing the services of Moore.
On 7 May 2002 the DTLR admitted in a statement that Sixsmith had not resigned on 15 February. It claimed Byers’s announcement had been based on “a misunderstanding”. The statement also said that "no blame is being apportioned" for the "unfortunate events" of February. A House of Commons committee later noted that this position was incompatible with the department's earlier view that Sixsmith's position had been untenable.
Sixsmith was widely expected to write a memoir or autobiography in the wake of his departure, but was gagged by the government. Instead, he produced a novel about near-future politics called Spin which was published in 2004.
His second novel, I Heard Lenin Laugh, was published in 2005. In 2006 he was commissioned by BBC Radio 4 to present a series of programmes on Russian poetry, literature and art.
In 2007 he published The Litvinenko File, an examination of the feud between the Kremlin and Russia’s émigré oligarchs.
In February 2008 Sixsmith worked on two BBC documentaries exploring the legacy of the KGB in today’s Russia and also presented a BBC radio programme, The Snowy Streets of St. Petersburg, about artists and writers who fled the former Eastern bloc.
In 2009 he published The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, a non-fiction book about the forcible separation of a mother and child by the nuns of an Irish convent during the 1950s, and their subsequent attempts to contact one another. A film of the book is currently in production with the London based Baby Cow Pictures.
In February 2010 he published Putin’s Oil, about Russia’s energy wars and their consequences for Moscow and the world.
He works as an advisor to the BBC political sitcom The Thick of It, and the Oscar nominated film, In The Loop. In 2011 he will present a fifty part history of Russia for BBC Radio.