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Ian Birrell

Ian Birrell


Ian Birrell is a columnist and foreign correspondent. He was deputy editor-in-chief of the Independent until 2010, and is now contributing editor of the Mail on Sunday, and writes columns regularly for several other papers. 

Over the last few years he has reported from countries around the world, including Egypt, Gabon, Haiti, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Libya, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Somalia, South Africa, Syria, Ukraine and Zimbabwe.

With Damon Albarn, he co-founded Africa Express, which promotes African music and brings together musicians from around the world. Most recently it produced Maison des Jeunes, an album of new Malian music.

Ian’s stories

  • Print your own body parts

    For people who are missing limbs, 3D printing can make new prosthetics – faster, cheaper and better. It could transform mobility for millions around the world, reports Ian Birrell.

  • How the mafia is causing cancer

    When doctors in rural Italy began to see a surge in cancer cases, they were baffled. Then they made the link with industrial waste being dumped by local crime syndicates. Ian Birrell learns about the tragic consequences.

  • The fat city that declared war on obesity

    Oklahoma has lost a million pounds of fat. Ian Birrell asks how – and whether declaring ‘war on obesity’ can really change a city’s infrastructure and encourage healthy living.

  • South Africa’s obesity crisis: the shape of things to come?

    Lifestyle and economic changes are bringing an obesity crisis to South Africa and other low-income countries. Ian Birrell meets the people fighting to turn the tide.