Author Mike Phillips has written a series of acclaimed thrillers and also made an important contribution to our understanding of the Windrush Generation
He worked for the BBC as a journalist and broadcaster between 1972 and 1983 on television programmes such as The Late Show and Omnibus before becoming a lecturer in media studies at the University of Westminster.
He is best known for his crime fiction, including four novels featuring black journalist Sam Dean: Blood Rights (1989), which was adapted for BBC television, The Late Candidate (1990), winner of the Crime Writers’ Association Macallan Silver Dagger award for fiction, Point of Darkness (1994), and An Image to Die For (1995).
The Dancing Face (1997) is a thriller centred on a priceless Benin mask. A Shadow of Myself (2000) concerns a black documentary filmmaker working in Prague and a man who claims to be his brother.
To coincide with the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush in 1998, Mike and Trevor Phillips, his brother, wrote Windrush: The Irresistible Rise of Multi-Racial Britain, to accompany a BBC television series telling the story of Caribbean migrants who settled in post-war Britain.
“There is no doubt that over the last 50 years the meaning read into the image of the Windrush has undergone a radical change”, they wrote.
“Britain in 1948 was very different from the country in which we now live. To the majority of passengers on the Windrush it was a leap into the unknown… In contrast, when we disembark from a trip abroad at Heathrow or climb off the ferry at Folkestone, we are entering familiar territory and simply coming home”.
His book, London Crossings: A Biography of Black Britain (2001), is a series of interlinked essays and stories, a portrait of the city seen from locations as diverse as New York and Nairobi, London, Washington and Warsaw.
He writes for the Guardian newspaper and was former cross-cultural curator at the Tate and a trustee of the National Heritage Memorial Fund and Heritage Lottery Fund.
Mike received an OBE in the 2007 New Year’s Honours list.