Paul Harris graduated from Aberdeen University in 1970 with an MA in Politics and International Relations. He currently works internationally as a writer, lecturer and consultant, and operates an art gallery in the Scottish border village of Coldingham.
While he was at university, his first book, When Pirates Ruled the Waves, written when he was 17 years old, telling the story of ‘pirate’ radio Europe, was published. It ran through five editions and was republished in 2007 by Kennedy & Boyd. It is still in print and distributed by Amazon. In the early 1970s he worked in pirate radio as project coordinator for Capital Radio, which was anchored in the North Sea off the Dutch coast.
He continued writing during the 1970s and ’80s on a variety of subjects including Scottish art, local history and the Second World War. In 1990, Canongate/Phaidon published The Dictionary of Scottish Painters, which he compiled together with Julian Halsby. It has remained constantly in print since then and has sold five editions.
During the 1990s, he entered journalism when he found himself in former Yugoslavia as the war there broke out. His ‘plane was destroyed on the tarmac at Ljubljana’s Brnik Airport. He stayed on and started to work there for Jane’s Defence Information Group, becoming Contributing Editor of Jane’s Balkan Sentinel and specialist contributor, insurgency and terrorism, for Jane’s Intelligence Review.
He won a British Press Award for his reporting from the war in Bosnia. He went on to work in Asia and Africa, filing stories from more than fifty countries. He was injured in Kosovo in 1999 and the following year became Daily Telegraph correspondent in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He was expelled from Sri Lanka at the end of 2001 and was then appointed an editor on the English language newspaper The Shanghai Daily.
The story of his journalistic career is recounted in his autobiography More Thrills than Skills: Adventures in Journalism, War & Terrorism which was published in 2009 by Kennedy & Boyd.
Together with Julian Halsby, he is the author of The Dictionary of Scottish Painters (Canongate/Phaidon 1990) which is now in its sixth edition with Birlinn Publishing. In 2005 he sold his extensive collection of Scottish art and started to collect modern Vietnamese art. Today, he also collects Chinese art: paintings, porcelain and objets. His gallery in the Scottish borders (http://www.coldinghamgallery.co.uk/) also specialises in these two areas. Chinese stock items can be viewed online (http://www.chineseartinscotland.co.uk). Since July 2011, he has been a NADFAS accredited lecturer (National Association of Decorative and Fine Art Societies).
He is the author of more than 40 books (See Publications). Also several books of his photographs have been published including Cry Bosnia (28,000 copies sold), Fractured Paradise: Images of Sri Lanka, About Face: Photographs from the Streets of Shanghai and Transition Shanghai.
The range of lectures he has given over the past fifteen years reflect his own very wide interests and experience. A complete list of all the lectures he has given, and which are available on Powerpoint can be seen on the Lectures page.
His autobiography More Thrills than Skills: Adventures in Journalism, War & Terrorism (2009) is published by Kennedy & Boyd and is available at Amazon.co.uk.