Cole Moreton

Cole Moreton

Cole Moreton is an award-winning writer and broadcaster exploring who we are and what we believe in. His Radio 4 series The Boy Who Gave His Heart Away won Audio Moment of the Year at the Arias, the radio industry Oscars, as well as Best Documentary at the BBC Radio Awards and Best Writing at the New York Festival. Cole has written and presented eight series or documentaries for Radio 4 since 2016, in collaboration with producer Jonathan Mayo. He won bronze for Best Speech Presenter at the Audio Production Awards for the binaural documentary The Walk: For Richer, For Poorer, exploring inequality in London in the wake of Grenfell.

Cole grew up in a working class family in the East End of London and is passionate about giving air time to people whose stories might not otherwise be heard, which was one of the inspirations for the popular Radio 4 series The Wedding Detectives, which he presents with Charlotte Sibtain. It has also led to his work as a mentor and coach and at the Working Class Writer’s Festival in Bristol.

Cole is also lead interviewer for Weekend, the Mail’s arts and culture magazine, and was Interviewer of the Year at the Press Awards in 2016. Cole left school at the age of 15 to join the local paper as an apprentice reporter, before going on to work in refugee camps in Asia and Africa during his twenties. He came home to achieve a first class degree in English at Middlesex University and worked for the Church Times, Mojo and the Press Association.

Cole began to write for the Independent on Sunday during the early Nineties after a brief period at the Express and was with the title until 2009, rising to become executive editor. As a reporter and editor he has covered many of the major news stories of our time, from 9/11 to recent work with some of the teenagers who have crossed the Channel on overladen boats.

He has written for the Guardian, Times, Sunday Times and Financial Times, as well as serving in a staff role as chief feature writer on the Sunday Telegraph, during which time he covered the Olympics on one soil and the death and funeral of Nelson Mandela in South Africa. Cole brings empathy and warmth to any project, with an instinctive ability to put people at ease and help them tell their stories, whatever their background.

His first book Hungry for Home (Penguin 2000) was about exile and belonging, telling the story of a community in the far west of Ireland that relocated to America. His second My Father Was A Hero (Penguin 2005) was a working class memoir about life in London during and after the Second World War. Is God Still An Englishman? (Little, Brown 2010) looked at the huge changes in the spiritual and cultural make-up of Britain over the last 40 years and celebrated the diversity to come.

The Boy Who Gave His Heart Away (Harper Collins 2017) was the true story of a modern medical miracle, a heart transplant between two boys and the relationships that formed among their families. The Light Keeper (Marylebone House 2019) was Cole’s debut novel, a tale of hope, faith and longing set in the real Belle Tout lighthouse on the edge of a four hundred foot drop at Beachy Head on the South Coast of England, close to where he lives.

Cole also co-hosts the Edge of England podcast telling stories and meeting characters from that part of the world. His next book will be Everything Is Extraordinary: true stories about how we live, love and pay attention (Hodder Faith 2023), a series of true short stories about the remarkable people he has encountered and the lessons we can learn from them, from Scarlett Johansson and Tiger Woods to a refugee called Zahra. These stories also form the basis of the podcast Can We Talk? published by Hodder Faith and currently available on all platforms.

Cole is the father of four grown-up children, including triplets, whose story was told in the Radio 4 documentary series The Power of Three. He is a writing coach and has taught for the Arvon Foundation and various universities. Cole is a member of the Society of Authors and a long time contributor to the Greenbelt festival of arts, faith and social justice. He plays in a band called The Light Keepers, lives by the sea and spends as much time as possible walking by the waves.