I’m a freelance ghostwriter, lecturer, trainer and consultant, specialising in biography, politics, history and architecture. I can write fluently, excitingly and to tight deadlines, and have both feet in the real world, with 15 years’ experience at the frontline of politics and planning, and 20 years' experience as a journalist.
I am writing a book about contemporary development in London, and elsewhere, due to be published in 2017, and have written for the Guardian, Building Design, and many other publications. Since 2015 I have worked with Lifebook, a specialist biography publisher, ghost-writing memoirs for a number of confidential private clients. I regularly blog about politics, history and architecture at alexgrant.me, which has had more than 30,000 visitors since it began in 2014.
My roots are in good old-fashioned print journalism. I started my career as a cub reporter for the Millbrook Round Table, a weekly newspaper in upstate New York, in 1997-98 (a great crash-course in the rules of American football, writing copy quickly to weekly deadlines, and political intrigue). Back in the UK, from 1998 to 2004 I juggled a political career with working as a senior reporter on Printing World. then the weekly news magazine of the printing industry. Along with a lot of business reporting I specialised in industrial relations, fraud and curse of “phoenix” companies. Hiven the challenges posed by 9/11, consolidation and the rise of Internet I mainly covered printers going bust, not starting up!
As well as blogging, ghost-writing, and news and feature writing, I've also written guidebooks and history. My work includes a guide to historic buildings and landscapes in the Nene Valley, where I now live, for the Churches Conservation Trust, and a comprehensive history of the Westcombe Woodlands, an ecology project in Greenwich.
Until I stood down at the May 2014 elections I was as a Labour councillor in the Royal Borough of Greenwich (representing Blackheath Westcombe, always one of London’s most marginal wards) for 16 years.
I worked as senior researcher for Nick Raynsford MP, a former Minister for London, between 2008 and 2012, and in 2013 I received a Labour Party Merit Award for political and community service.
I have a lot of experience of political training, roleplay and facilitation. Since 2012 I’ve regularly delivered training courses for local authorities, NHS East Midlands, and the NHS Leadership Academy with Cumberlege Eden and Partners.
The built environment
I was Chair of Greenwich’s Planning Board (and the borough’s design champion) from 2006 to 2010. I was a Member of Urban Design London’s Housing Design Network in 2009-10, and of CABE’s Thames Gateway Design Taskforce in 2007-2008. In 2012-13 I had a spell in the private sector as an Account Manager at Indigo Public Affairs, working on a number of high=profile building projects in London (see details below).
I’ve regularly taught courses in Urban Planning at the City Lit since 2014, and I’ve lectured at the Bartlett (University College London’s faculty of the built environment) and the University of Sheffield. I have recently worked in frontline roles in the heritage sector, both at the National Trust and at Elton Hall, a historic house near Peterborough.
I studied English Language and Literature at Balliol College, Oxford (BA Hons, 2:1, 1996), and subsequently Journalism at Goldsmith's College, London (MA, 1997).
Subjects have included a Member of the House of Lords, a former Member of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, and a retired Old Bailey judge.
I helped give strategic political advice, and lead community consultation on, a number of large London developments including the residential conversion of Centre Point, The Stage in Shoreditch (a mixed-use development that put the remains of Shakespeare’s Curtain Theatre on public display)and, more controversially, the redevelopment of much of the Royal Mail’s Mount Pleasant site.
I was first elected in 1998, aged 24 - I was the youngest Labour councillor in Greenwich at the time, and one of the youngest in London. I was re-elected in 2002, 2006 and 2010, always by a handful of votes in one of the most marginal wards in London (Blackheath Westcombe is the only ward in London which has always been represented by a mix of Labour and Conservative councillors). I also worked as a Labour Party organiser in day-to-day charge of the 2005 general election campaign, and the 2006 local election campaign, in the Greenwich and Woolwich constituency.
I held a number of senior roles in the council - including Chair of the Planning Board, Cabinet member for the environment, and chair of the environment, development and regeneration scrutiny panel. In 2 I spoke out about bullying problems at the council when I announced my decision to stand down at the 2014 elections, which attracted alot of TV, press and online interest.
As a councillor I blogged extensively about public services, politics and local news at bwlabour.wordpress.com. I have continued to write about Greenwich politics on my current blog since my retirement from the council.
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I am an award-winning ghostwriter and author with over 20 titles published in the UK (both as author and ghost).
I’m a creative consultant and strategic wordsmith who helps people and companies sort through their ideas to find clarity and direction.