Ian Sutherland

One of the many things that makes Ian unique as a novelist is the way he successfully straddles the academic, business, and literary worlds, thereby appealing to a broad audience. The first expression of him as an author was to pen ‘cops and robbers’ stories, aged five. As a youngster, he was a fanatical reader, devouring fiction of all kinds. He started writing in earnest to immortalize the stories with which he’d verbally enthralled his own children―including a nightly serial known as The Never-ending Story. This gained traction with the completion of a memoir. Ian’s passion for writing intensified and, in 2016, he completed an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Cape Town―resulting in his debut novel, Subversion (previously Featherstream) under the supervision of acclaimed South African novelist Professor Etienne van Heerden. Following publication in September 2018, Ian featured in a series of filled-to capacity book launches and interviews in leading media outlets and literary festivals. Subversion, a page-turning WWII historical drama, was carried by leading bookstores throughout South Africa, reaching #2 on Exclusive Books’ bestseller list. It was also awarded Best Novel at the 2019 National Independent Publishers Awards.

After several years of research and writing, Ian’s second novel Catastrophe, a historical thriller-memoir set in the immediate aftermath of the 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, USSR, is set to launch on 9 November (at Exclusive Books Cavendish Square). His interest in the subject was sparked when the disaster was treated as a real-time case study in his first year of Mechanical Engineering studies. In 2016, Engineering News commissioned Ian to write an article reflecting on the 30th anniversary of Chernobyl.

Ian is also an accomplished short story writer, having been shortlisted for the 2018 Short Sharp Stories Award and placing second and fourth in the annual SA Writer’s College short story competition. Tales from his growing anthology, have appeared in publications such as The Anthology of South African Short Stories, Short Sharp Stories – Instant Exposure, and the New Richmond Reader.

Intensive, immersive research comprises a huge part of Ian’s writing life. For Katastrófa, he visited Ukraine on multiple occasions and has been learning Russian to get under the skin of his characters. His personal experience in the world of international high finance previously led him to write the as yet unpublished Not a Moment to Lose, a white-collar crime thriller which unfolds from New York City, through the United Kingdom to post-Soviet Bulgaria.

Which leads to Ian’s business background. Originally qualifying as a Mechanical and Industrial Engineer at the Universities of Cape Town and Witwatersrand respectively, he worked in the manufacturing industry, becoming a Professional Engineer. Ian’s adventurous spirit and aptitude for business led him to New York City to earn an MBA at Columbia University (Phi Beta Gamma). After graduation he consulted to Fortune 500 companies across the United States, and later joined a boutique Wall Street investment bank, for which he later started an Australian division. So, having studied, lived, and worked in New York and Sydney, he is comfortable on the international stage.

Throughout his journey from business to literature, Ian’s passion for History has been a constant, both as a field of study (to undergraduate level via correspondence) and a lens through which to travel. He also loves other languages―and is fluent in Afrikaans, conversant in German, progressing in Russian and working on his smatterings of French, Italian and isiXhosa. With his diverse interests and quirky sense of humour, Ian is growing a large and engaged social media following on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn (350).

When not writing, Ian enjoys surfing, hiking, going on safari and reading a great deal. He is currently based in Cape Town, South Africa.