Jeffrey Archer was born in London, brought up
in Somerset, the son of a printer, and educated at Wellington School, and
Brasenose College, Oxford, where he 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 was taken up by the Literary Agent, Debbie Owen, and sold to 17 countries within a year. It was also made into a successful serial for BBC Radio 4, and was later televised in 1990 by the BBC.
He has written numerous other works, including short stories and nonfiction. Jeffrey is also a playwright, and after the General Election in 1987, he wrote his first play Beyond Reasonable Doubt, which ran at the Queen's Theatre in London's West End for over 600 performances, and starred Frank Finlay and Wendy Craig.
Jeffrey Archer was Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party from September 1985 until November 1986. In 1991, he was co-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 Archer 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 Archer 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 of his Prison Diary; Volume I, 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.
Now published in 63 countries and more than 32 languages, Jeffrey Archer is firmly established, with international sales passing 135 million copies. He is the only author ever to have been a number one bestseller in fiction, short stories, and non-fiction.
He 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.
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