Friday, April 15, 2011

This Day in Literary History

Jeffrey Archer, bestselling novelist and politician, is born in Somerset, England.

Archer attended Oxford and later studied in the U.S. In 1969, he was elected to the House of Commons, the youngest member of Parliament elected that year. But in 1974, financial disaster struck when an investment went bad. Penniless, he resigned from Parliament and wrote a novel, Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less, which became an instant bestseller, enabling him to repay his debts.

Archer was later appointed deputy chairman of Britain's Conservative Party, but he was forced to resign in disgrace again after a tabloid accused him of patronizing a prostitute in 1986. Archer sued the tabloid and won $800,000 in damages. Meanwhile, he continued writing bestsellers, including Shall We Tell the President? (1976), First Among Equals (1984), As the Crow Flies (1991), and The Fourth Estate (1996). In 1995, the queen made Archer a peer, endowing him with the title of Lord.

In 1999, Lord Archer ran for mayor of London but was brought down by another scandal, when he admitted that he had attempted an illegal cover-up of the prostitute incident 13 years earlier.

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