In Conversation With: Frank Gardner OBE

5 Oct | 7:30pm | £16, £13 conc.

With a career that combines BBC reporting from war zones, Territorial Army service and deep throat research into security issues, journalist and author Frank Gardner was never going to be short of material when he chose to start writing thrillers.

He talks and writes about a world he knows inside-out: as a scholar of the Middle East and the Arab world and BBC correspondent in the region – he was shot by terrorists in Saudi Arabia, which left him confined to a wheelchair – he initially put pen to paper in a riveting memoir, Blood & Sand.

His first thriller, Crisis, was published in 2016 and was a Sunday Times bestseller, followed two years later by Ultimatum. Ultimatum is focussed on Iran, its nuclear programme and its relations with the West, and kicks off with a Persian proverb: “Patience is bitter, but it has a sweet fruit.” Both novels feature Luke Carlton as MI6 agent: orphaned at 10, a first class degree in international relations from Edinburgh, 12 years in the Royal Marines, four in the Special Boat Service as a spy, then recruitment by MI6, which gives him, as he puts it, “the best training in espionage the world has to offer”.

Come and hear Frank talk about his work writing fact and fiction with Clapham local and fellow thriller writer and documentary maker Simon Berthon.