Author, writer, lecturer and broadcaster, Ian Williams was born in Liverpool and graduated from Liverpool University, despite several years’ suspension for protests against its investments in South Africa. Consequently, he had a variegated career path, which included working on Liverpool buses and British Rail as well as a drinking competition with Chinese Premier Chou En Lai and an argument on English Literature with Chiang Ching, aka Mme Mao. He became a professional writer after spending six months in India on a Nuffield fellowship to study labor unions in the subcontinent. While there he met Indira Gandhi and many other politicians, including veterans of the independence struggles.
In 1985 he won the Liverpool Press Club award for “By-line mania” when he wrote the centerfold for the Baptist Times, since then has proved how much he deserved it by writing for Penthouse and Hustler. He is a frequent contributor to the Guardian's "Comment is Free" section and is regular columnist for George Orwell’s old newspaper, Tribune. He has also been a regular contributor to the Daily Telegraph, the Financial Times, the European, The Observer, and The Independent for which he was one of the founding writers. He was for years a columnist for the New Statesman. Before leaving the UK for New York, in 1987 he was a speechwriter for Neil Kinnock, the British Labour Party leader during the General Election.
He is researching a book on the American Loyalists - the first American Civil War.
Coming this year, UNtold: The Real Story of the United Nations, from One World Press
and Political and Cultural Perceptions of George Orwell: British and American Views, from Palgrave Macmillan
Tequila: A Global History 2015 for Reaktion Press.
He has completed a corporate history of Appleton Estate Rum, founded in 1670, detailing the history of its founding family, the Dickinsons, Quakers who ancestors worked for the WH who commissioned the First Folio, and whose descendants knew Dickens.
He researching a book on the American Loyalists - the first American Civil War.
Cablestitch, 2015 a short biography of the British minister who privatized the Royal Mail
Perseus Books published his last book Rum, a Social and Sociable History of the Real Spirit of 76, on the forgotten role of rum in world history and the importance of the Caribbean sugar and rum industry to North Atlantic economic and political development.
His previous book Deserter: George Bush’s War on Veterans, and His Own Past, was published 2004.
The UN For Beginners, 1995, was an attempt to make the UN interesting and accessible, while setting it, pragmatically, in the reality of Great Power politics.
The Alms Trade was published in 1989 and was republished in 2008 by Cosimo Books. It examines the medieval roots of Anglo-American charity laws and structures and their development and adaptation to political and economic trends.
Other books to which he has contributed include
The Cambridge Companion to George Orwell, Cambridge University Press 2007, George Orwell into the 21st Century - 2004,
The Iraq War, Rick Fawn and Raymond Hinnebusch (eds), 2005
The UN and Iraq
Bosnia, No Peace to Keep.
The UN into the 21 St Century: Wiley, 1995.
Broadcast and Periodicals
He is the anchor for a radio program, The Catskill Review of Books, on WJFF FM, on which he interviews an author a week. He has written essays and reviews for journals ranging from the Common Review (published by the Great Books Foundation, Chicago) to the London Review of Books, World Policy, the Nation and the New Statesman.
He frequently writes for academic journals on foreign affairs and the United Nations, most recently for the World Today, (Royal Institute for International Affairs) Vereinte Nationen (Berlin), and World Policy Journal (New York).
He appears often on radio and TV here and abroad trying to explain American foreign policy. In addition to writing, he has worked in various capacities for many TV and radio outlets, ABC, CBC, CNN, BBC, ITN CNBC, Fox, RTE, Arabiya and Al-Jazeera, Russia Today and Press TV, etc.. He has appeared on Good Morning America, the O’Reilly Factor, Hardball, Wolf Blitzer, Scarborough Country, Neil Cavuto, BBC’s Newsnight, Panorama etc. etc..