Richard Heller CV
Richard Heller is an author, journalist, screenwriter and book editor. He has published fiction and non-fiction, journalism, drama and poetry ever since.
He worked for many years for senior figures in British politics. He also reported and analysed six American Presidential elections.
From 1987 to 1993 he was on the political and feature staff of The Mail On Sunday newspaper: his roles included responsibility for its political diary and for its use of opinion polls. He was also its main non-fiction book reviewer. He was regularly called on to write “explainer” pieces on complex subjects. Turning freelance in 1993, he continued to serve the newspaper as a humorous and satirical columnist, a role he also fulfilled at The Times.
For over twenty years he was associated with various senior Labour Members of Parliament. From 1981 to 1983 he was chief of staff for Rt Hon Rt Hon Denis Healey MP and helped him to retain the Deputy Leadership of the Labour party in 1981 – an event which saved it from extinction. He also assisted him to create and present Labour’s international policies. From 1985 to 1987 he was chief of staff for Rt Hon Gerald Kaufman MP, then Shadow Home Secretary, helping him to create and present radical Labour policies on crime and law and order.
He also worked in the movie business, in England as a story analyst for Sir Richard Attenborough, and in Hollywood in a wide variety of projects including writing dialogue for a forthcoming motion picture called Cycle Sluts Versus The Zombie Ghouls.
In 1996 he was the runner-up in BBC Television’s Mastermind, an erudite quiz show, answering questions on President Harry Truman, British Politics Between The Wars, and Sir Gary Sobers. He was again a finalist in the 2008 series, answering questions on WC Fields, The Bonaparte dynasty and the Rodgers and Hart Songbook.
From 1971 to 1981 he had a successful career in the UK home civil service.
Born in New York, he spent his early life in the United States and then Mexico, before moving as a six-year-old with his family to London. He was educated in England at Repton School and Balliol College, Oxford, where he gained a second-class degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. He also wrote a great deal of comic drama and revue and composed many song lyrics.
He has played cricket for many different teams in over twenty countries for over sixty years, and continues to do so, although now in the twilight of a career which never really had a dawn, as a slow-medium bowler who moves the ball both ways off the bat. He also enjoys playing the piano badly.
By Richard Heller
High Impact Speeches 2002 – still in use worldwide as a manual for writing and delivering speeches
White On Green 2016 (with Peter Oborne) – a celebration of the drama of Pakistan cricket. Runner-up MCC/Cricket Society Book of the Year. Contributor and editor for Peter Oborne on Wounded Tiger 2014, a full history of Pakistan cricket: Wisden Book of the Year 2015.
A Tale Of Ten Wickets 1995, republished 2007 and 2014 – series of stories about members of a weekend team playing a cricket match. Sequel The Network published in 2008, initially as online serial. The same characters recur over a decade later, but this is principally a coming-of-age novel about a young cricketer. He is having a bleak life at the start, but he keeps true to his faith in cricket and it makes all his dreams come true.
The Prisoner Of Rubato Towers 2020 – an increasingly crazed account of a writer’s life in lockdown London, shared with a literary mouse, a poetic cockroach and a bridge-playing goldfish, with surprising intimate glimpses of famous people.
The Importance Of Not Being Earnest 2014 – comic fantasy about the literary genius Luke Upward. Forgotten today, but his belles-lettres were once the dernier cri of the avant-garde of the nouvelle vague.
Membear Of Parliament 2007 – story of the first teddy bear to become a British MP
The Speculator: romantic comedy, set in London in the 1980s, based on his own novel. Optioned.
Love In A Spin: short comedy, about a man who falls in love at first sight with a launderette lady, and whose life becomes an obsessive quest for laundry. Filmed by young director, shown at festival at Exeter University,
Your Very Own Ricky Rubato: romantic comedy, set in present-day USA. Optioned.
Second Innings drama set in Pakistan, combining stories of movie-making and cricket, due to be made in Pakistan in 2019/2020 before Covid.
Slackerzzz (in progress). Two young slackers are tired of the constant nagging by their families to get off their couches and find a job or an education. They decide to set up a business hiring out slackers for jobs for which they are ideal (such as, obviously, testing couches.) It thrives, and they end up working far harder than if they had taken a conventional job. But in the happy ending: as joint CEOs of the giant Slackerzz Corporation they run the business strategically from their original couches, while hiring others to deal with the “numbers and all that boring stuff.”
Waiting For Gordo – bleak existential drama of backbench life in the Labour Party, commissioned by BBC Radio Four, performed at Labour Party Conference 2005.
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