Hitchens, Christopher Eric

views updated

Christopher Eric Hitchens, 1949–2011, Anglo-American journalist and critic, b. Portsmouth, England, grad. Bailliol College, Oxford (1970). He wrote for the New Statesman, London Times,Daily Express, and other periodicals from 1971 to 1981, when he moved to the United States; he then wrote for The Nation (1982–2002) and Vanity Fair (1992–2011) and was a regular contributor to Slate and The Atlantic Monthly. In 2007 he became a U.S. citizen. Originally a socialist, he later adopted various neoconservative positions, e.g., supporting George W. Bush and the invasion of Iraq. Hitchens was a prolific, original, provocative, and often controversial master of prose style whose books include Cyprus (1984, rev. ed. 1997), extremely negative studies of Mother Teresa (1995), Bill Clinton (1999), and Henry Kissinger (2001) as well as Letters to a Young Contrarian (2001), God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (2007), the essays of Arguably (2011), and the posthumously published Mortality (2012), a fearless analysis of the last 18 months of his life, as he died of cancer. As brilliant, fluent, and witty a talker as he was a writer, Hitchens frequently appeared on television and taught at several universities.

See his memoir, Hitch-22 (2010); S. Cottee and T. Cushman, ed., Christopher Hitchens and His Critics (2008); W. Mann, ed., The Quotable Hitchens (2011).