Oxford Mail reporter Michael Litchfield is to leave the newspaper next month to concentrate on his work as an author.
Local government reporter Michael, who also writes for the Mail’s sister paper the Oxford Times, has secured a three-book deal writing crime fiction.
His first book, Bullet for an Encore, is due out in hardback in February next year, and he has also been commissioned to write two more by publisher Robert Hale.
Fifty-five-year-old Michael (pictured) has worked in regional newspapers for 37 years, starting out at the Northants Evening Telegraph in Kettering.
Since then he has worked as local government reporter for the Swindon Evening Advertiser (twice), and the Daily Echo, Bournemouth, then business editor at The Sentinel, Stoke-on-Trent and also for the Sunday Express and Daily Mail. He has also been parliamentary lobby correspondent for Northcliffe Newspapers.
He wrote his 100,000 word novel while commuting to London from his Dorset home to cover the parliamentary lobby, and says he has many happy memories of his time in journalism – and some funny ones too.
Michael said: “I once got an exclusive interview with Tony Blair while covering the lobby for Northcliffe. On the way to write it up, the lift broke down and I was stuck there for two hours.
“When I emerged, I had missed the deadline of every single evening title in the group.”
Oxford Mail editor Simon O’Neill said: “I brought Michael to Swindon and he turned local government coverage on its head. The local council both feared and respected him, which is some tribute.
“He joined me in Oxford this year and was blazing a similar trail with the county and city councils… then someone goes and writes him a huge cheque which sets him up for life.
“He is a good old-fashioned reporter, one of a disappearing breed, who gets his kicks digging up stories. I shall miss working with him.
“A lot of journalists like to think they have a book in them and Michael has proved that it’s never too late to make that dream a reality.”
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