Following employment at the prestigious institutions of City of London School and then King George V School (Hong Kong), I teach history in leading schools on Australia’s Gold Coast. I also work as an occasional freelance journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald, The Canberra Times, South China Morning Post, and formerly Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK). My first historical novel, A Chance Kill, reached the top of bestseller charts in Hong Kong. Here’s an interview about my second novel, The Slightest Chance (click to find out more, including where to buy). My latest side-projects include our Dad and Me Love History podcast series and my Not Your Average England Fan blog.
I also appear as a talking head for the BBC:
Family fun with our history podcast! My son James and I talk history, with fun facts and bad jokes on our podcast series Dad and Me Love History. Get your kid away from the screen for 15 minutes of educational fun! Here’s a two-minute showreel of highlights:
My radio work includes co-presenting Backchat, the flagship breakfast time current affairs show on Radio Television Hong Kong’s Radio 3. Here’s a one-minute showreel:
Having many years of experience in teaching history, I have turned my two years as a ‘Radio Historian‘ on RTHK Radio 3 into a podcast series called ‘This Month in History‘, available here on iTUNES/STITCHER (and beyond). This includes two specials (December 2015 and December 2016) on the Battle of Hong Kong. I’ve featured many times on ABC Radio in Australia, and on BBC radio and across the US (e.g. ‘Lou in the Morning’, ‘The Michael Hart Show’ and ‘Stuart Vener Tells It How It Is’).
I have had scores of op-eds published. My subject matter ranges from George Orwell’s prediction of the current Cold War in East Asia to civility in world leaders. My feature writing has included the SCMP’s Sunday Magazine Christmas 2016 cover story, for the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Hong Kong, and various travel stories, such as on Prague: In Assassins’s Shoes. All of my articles are available here on my website and my SCMP pieces are also at www.scmp.com/author/paul-letters
When visiting Russia for the 2018 World Cup, I was featured on BBC television around the world – albeit not for my writing!
My background: Originally from England, I lived in the jungled fringes of Hong Kong from 2001. In 2019 I moved to Australia’s Gold Coast. Dealing with the onset of physical disability – twisted and transposed to a character in A Chance Kill – prompted me to write. I studied history, education, global affairs and literary journalism at the Universities of Cardiff, Oxford and Hong Kong. When I graduated top of my class in 2011, I stayed on in HKU’s Politics Department as a Senior Researcher (focused on the rise of China and also the nature of soft power). I am now (2017) completing a second contract, researching the international relations between East Asian nations and China and the US. I also write for educational apps made by games and app giant Animoca.
My WWII novels: Here are a few of the interviews which focused on my first novel: RTHK Radio 3, 9 February 2015; RTHK Radio 3, 26 February 2015 (Part I, 20min50sec); sixty-minute interview and reading of A Chance Kill on Artist First radio (2015). My second novel, The Slightest Chance, is now available in stores and online at all the usual places, including QBD Books, Waterstones, Angus & Robertson, Booktopia, Book Depository, Amazon or direct from Hong Kong publisher Blacksmith Books. Listen to an RTHK radio interview about the novel.
REQUESTS FOR TALKS: Contact paulletters[-at-]gmail.com
Past examples include Hong Kong University and the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club for When is fiction not fiction? The historical novel and truth – through the eyes of journalist and novelist Paul Letters. This talk explores the lack of a fine line – or any line at all – between fiction and nonfiction. Does historical fiction help us to understand the past? Can it be considered as a legitimate contribution to the historical record? What is literary journalism and what does it borrow from fiction? If journalism sways the emotions through the techniques of fiction, and if historical fiction (like A Chance Kill) bows to historical ‘truth’, should we all follow the lead of Hong Kong bookstores (where you’ll often find historical novels and journalistic accounts under “History”) and mix together novels, history and journalism on our bookshelves?