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He was the son of Max Stothard, an electrical engineer who worked at the Marconi Research Centre, Great Baddow He grew up on the nearby Rothmans Estate. and was educated at Brentwood School, Essex (1962–68) and Trinity College, Oxford, where he became editor of Oxford University student newspaper Cherwell, after which he joined the BBC and wrote for the New Statesman, New Society and Plays and Players. He joined The Sunday Times in 1978 and The Times in 1981 where he was chief leader writer, deputy editor and US editor, based in Washington. He was knighted for services to the newspaper industry in 2003. He published Thirty Days: An Inside Account of Tony Blair at War (ISBN 0-06-058262-6 www.harpercollins.co.uk) in 2004 which was based on observations inside Downing Street during the Iraq War.
During Stothard's editorship, The Times reached a circulation of more than 900,000 - the highest in its history. This was the result of the so-called 'price war' which started in 1993 when The Times reduced its cover price and started intense circulation battles against The Daily Telegraph and The Independent. Under the ownership of News International, led by Rupert Murdoch, The Times had identified the Telegraph rather than The Guardian as its main rival while The Independent was at first a serious challenger to The Times. One enduring result of the price war was a significant narrowing of the gap between The Times and Daily Telegraph and a widening of the gap with The Independent.
In 1999 he became involved in a controversial legal dispute over political funding with the Conservative Party Treasurer, Michael Ashcroft. Lord Ashcroft sued but subsequently withdrew his suit after a statement agreed by both parties.
In 2000 he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and was away from The Times for ten months for successful treatment.
Since becoming editor of The Times Literary Supplement he has written mainly on Greek and Roman literature. He also maintains a regular blog on politics and culture, both Classical and contemporary.
In 2010 his memoir On the Spartacus Road combined an account of the Spartacus uprising with elements of autobiography.
On the topic of gender bias in literature reviews, in 2011, Stothard was quoted by The Guardian as saying: "And while women are heavy readers, we know they are heavy readers of the kind of fiction that is not likely to be reviewed in the pages of the TLS." He further went on to state, "The TLS is only interested in getting the best reviews of the most important books. Without making a fetish of having 50/50 contributors, we do have a lot of reviewers of both sexes and from all over the world." (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/feb/04/research-male-writers-dominate-books-world)
He is Chairman of judges for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction (2012) and President of the Classical Association.
Stothard appears as a character briefly in the first scene of a one-level Tomb Raider expansion videogame made by Core Design in association with The Times. The expansion is called Times Exclusive Level and was released in 2000.
|Deputy Editor of The Times|
|Editor of The Times|