Jurek Martin has been reinvented in the last 12 months as a columnist for the Financial Times, the newspaper for which he has labored in various capacities for over 30 years. In his new guise, he is deliciously free to write about whatever he wants, so long as it is mostly about America and addressed to Americans. He has, therefore, been able to range from Mozart on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and barbecue summits in Oxford, Mississippi to war, peace and the assault on civil liberties in the U.S.
He has a modern history degree from Oxford (England, not Mississippi) and first went overseas, to exotic California, when only 21, improving his life experiences, but not his wallet, as a schoolteacher, bartender and ski bum for three years, before joining the Financial Times in London.
His most notable achievements during these years were to discover a lost Raphael and to be the first Western male to dance in public with the woman who is now the Empress of Japan. For reasons which totally elude him, he won two British press awards, the Pulitzer equivalents, for his coverage of Japan and in 1997 was named to the Order of the British Empire by the Queen, for services to international journalism, especially in the U.S., which, at least, was an excuse for a good lunch at the Ritz.
In notional retirement, he has had more time to focus on the truly important things in life--golf, tennis, eating and drinking--but still writes a lot, if less than before, and really enjoys college teaching, as a member of the Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows program. He is married to Kathleen Newland, now co-director of the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., and herself a CWA participant.