D'Ancona, Matthew 1968–
D'Ancona, Matthew 1968–
PERSONAL: Born January 27, 1968, in London, England; son of John (a consultant) and Helen (a teacher) D'Ancona; married Sarah Schaefer (Europe Director of the Foreign Policy Center); children: two sons. Education: Attended St. Dunstan's College; Magdalen College, Oxford, graduated (with first class honors), 1989.
ADDRESSES: Home—London, England. Office—Sunday Telegraph, 1 Canada Sq., Canary Wharf, London E14 5AR, England. Agent—Peter Robinson, Robinson Literary Agency, Block A511, The Jam Factory, 27 Green Walk, London SE1 4TT, England.
CAREER: Times, London, England, assistant editor, 1990–95; Sunday Telegraph, London, England, deputy editor and political columnist, 1996–. Also worked for the periodical Index on Censorship. All Souls College, Oxford, England, fellow, 1989–96. Member of Millenium Commission, 2001–06, Hansard Commission on Parliament in the Public Eye, 2004–05, and Board of the Centre for Policy Studies, 1998–2006.
MEMBER: Garrick Club.
AWARDS, HONORS: Charles Douglas-Home Trust Award, 1994; Political Journalist of the Year, British Press Awards, 2004.
(With Carsten Peter Thiede) Eyewitness to Jesus, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1996, published as The Jesus Papyrus, Weidenfeld & Nicolson (London, England), 1996.
The Ties that Bind Us, Social Market Foundation (London, England), 1996.
(With Carsten Peter Thiede) The Quest for the True Cross, Weidenfeld & Nicolson (London, England), 2000.
Going East (novel), Doubleday/Nan Talese Books (New York, NY), 2004.
(Author of introduction) Carsten Peter Thiede, The Emmaus Mystery: Discovering Evidence for the Risen Christ, Continuum (New York, NY), 2005.
Tabatha's Code (novel), Alma Books (Surrey, England), 2006.
SIDELIGHTS: British journalist Matthew D'Ancona has written both fiction and nonfiction books. With The Quest for the True Cross, written with German papyrologist Carsten Peter Thiede, he attempts to verify whether or not the fragments of the cross at a Roman church are actually real or not. While many biblical scholars attest that these fragments are not actual ones, D'Ancona and his collaborator, using textual clues rather than carbon dating or wood analysis, conclude in their book that the fragments do in fact come from the time of Christ. A Publishers Weekly contributor found "the authors' case appears rather thin, using scanty evidence to make definitive assertions about the True Cross." On the other hand, a critic for Kirkus Reviews thought this "revisionist history" was "interesting, well-made, and should attract much attention."
D'Ancona turns to fiction with his 2004 title, Going East, a "snappy, if occasionally slow-paced, debut," according to a Kirkus Reviews critic. Mia Taylor, daughter of a well-to-do family, loses everything when a bomb blast kills her parents and siblings. Devastated, Mia moves to London's East End to devote herself to good works. After she discovers that the blast was caused by an Irish terrorist, she goes on the trail of the killer. Booklist contributor Kristine Huntley noted that the novel "picks up considerable speed and intensity" once Mia uncovers the real reasons for the bombing. A Publishers Weekly contributor called Going East a "smart, riveting thriller."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, July, 2004, Kristine Huntley, review of Going East, p. 1816.
Journal of Religion, July, 2003, Hans A. Pohlsander, review of The Quest for the True Cross, p. 436.
Journal of Religious History, February, 1998, Stuart R. Pickering, review of The Jesus Papyrus, p. 104.
Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2002, review of The Quest for the True Cross, p. 94; June 15, 2004, review of Going East, p. 550.
Publishers Weekly, February 11, 2002, review of The Quest for the True Cross, p. 181; June 21, 2004, review of Going East, p. 44.
Times Literary Supplement, November 17, 2000, Averil Cameron, "Legend and Inscription," p. 28.
Random House Web site, http://www.randomhouse.com/ (March 20, 2006), brief biography of the author.