Charlie Connelly is a bestselling author and award-winning broadcaster. His ten books include Attention All Shipping: A Journey Round The Shipping Forecast, In Search of Elvis: A Journey To Find The Man Beneath The Jumpsuit and Our Man In Hibernia: Ireland, The Irish And Me. Three of his books have featured as Radio 4′s Book of the Week. Charlie was also a popular presenter on the BBC1 Holiday programme and co-presented the first three series of BBC Radio 4′s Traveller’s Tree with Fi Glover.
As well as his books Charlie has written for most of the UK and Irish national newspapers including to his accountant’s spluttering disbelief the Financial Times and a range of magazines from The Oldie to Outdoor Fitness. His proudest moment however is contributing a feature to the 2011 Wisden Cricketer’s Almanack. He’d always hoped his first mention in its hallowed pages would be as one of the Five Cricketers Of The Year, but a feature will still do very nicely, thank you.
Among other things, he has performed Blue Moon of Kentucky live on national television in Uzbekistan in a duet with the nation’s biggest pop star, been made an official ambassador for a breakaway Lithuanian republic, had Kate Adie whispering a Dustin Hoffman impersonation into his ear, been hounded by the press after being falsely accused by the Daily Mail of intending to annex the island of Rockall and been challenged via the media to a fist fight by Ben Fogle. All by accident.
Charlie Connelly was born in west London in the late summer of 1970. Conceived in the sixties and born in the seventies, this juxtaposition of decades has left its mark as Charlie manages to combine the laid back disorganization of the era of free love with the sartorial cluelessness of the following decade.
Within eighteen months the infant Charlie had, with the use of flipcharts and government statistics, persuaded his parents to move south of the river and he grew up in that exclusive part of London that doesn’t have the tube.
Having got through most of the eighties reasonably unscathed, an unfortunate and decade- late brush with punk notwithstanding, he left school and went to the University of Essex. Colchester, he had learned, is Britain’s oldest recorded town and Charlie wanted to hear that recording.
In 1993 Charlie left university with a degree in history to stumble into a job putting on music tours and festivals, and from there he attempted various careers from musician to laboratory technician to mortuary assistant to artist manager to tee-shirt packer to sound engineer with varying degrees of incompetence and fiscal catastrophe.
It was when he found himself living in Penge (where locals are to this day trying to hook the full moon out of the pond with a hoe) and working as marketing manager for the Complete Works of Lenin that Charlie finally turned his hand to writing.
His first book was published in 1998 and he hasn’t looked back since. Which is a pity because about a year later he dropped his wallet.
On the publication of his first book, Charlie became a full-time writer and has somehow been getting away with it ever since. His literary travels have taken him to places as diverse as Liechtenstein, Arctic Norway, the wilds of rural Bosnia, Uzbekistan and Offaly.
A popular public speaker, Charlie has lectured at the Royal Geographical Society and National Maritime Museum in London and sold out events at the Edinburgh Festival and Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.
After four years living in Ireland – with the kind of timing only Charlie could hope to achieve the nation’s economic recession got underway pretty much as his plane’s wheels hit the tarmac – Charlie returned to London in 2012. Again, with impeccable timing, he was just in time to completely miss the Olympics. He also managed to miss the launch of his latest book Bring Me Sunshine, which was his third Radio 4 Book Of The Week. But at least he could return to the warm embrace of his beloved Charlton Athletic.
These days he spends most of his day staring out of the window at a river promising himself that today really is the day when he’ll begin the Great Ukulele Novel.