David Wilson

Activist, writer and whistleblower

From the day I fled school on a meat ship to Argentina, I have been a gaucho and sailor, teacher, art agent, film maker, war crime witness, aid worker and playwright.

As first director of the Pavarotti Music Centre in Bosnia, I initiated healing for the war traumatised. I co-founded War Child whose patrons included Luciano Pavarotti, Davie Bowie, Brian Eno and Tom Stoppard. With their help and that of The Guardian and Channel 4 TV, I was a whistleblower when exposing corruption in that charity.

Influenced by a father who was one of the first allied doctors to enter Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, I have been a political activist, attracting the attention of M15 when only sixteen. I was active in May 1968 and, more recently, was Press Officer at the Stop the War Coalition in London.

I have written articles for UK and US political websites and four plays, the most recent starring Tim Pigott-Smith and the late Roger Lloyd Pack and Colin Redgrave in one of his last roles. The themes range from Dylan Thomas to Gaza.

My personal life has involved a tempestuous marriage to a Croatian and the trauma of raising a handicapped child.

I am writing a memoir, 'Left Field', which will hopefully find its readers amongst the 60s generation who grew up with me, agitated with me and remain true to the struggles of their youth. It will also be important to today's new generation of angry, frustrated, hopeful young people who are organising for a better and fairer world.

An early draft of 'Left Field' was read by Edina Imrik at the Ed Victor Agency who summed the work up with these words: “Your relationship with your elderly father is described in such beautiful style that it would not be out of place from a literary novel by an established and seasoned author. The same goes for your childhood years at boarding school ... The 'Balkan years', including the bits where you fall in love with a Croat and the adventures of the mobile bakery could be from a historical thriller. The whole 'War Child' section could be an expose/non-fiction about the problems and hidden lives of charities, especially when they become powerful.”

Brian Eno also read the draft and sent me these words: “David Wilson is an adventurer and a free-thinker, who, despite the best efforts of an education designed to equip him for obedient anonymity, somehow did something truly useful with his life. His stubborn and yet self-effacing commitment to his ideals carried him through many daunting situations, and his sense of humour kept him able to see the funny side.”

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