Jon Steele was born in Spokane, Washington in 1950 and lived in four states across the American West by the time he was ten years old. He spent the bigger part of growing up in Great Falls, Montana and calls it the closest thing there is to a hometown. A born storyteller, a talent he discovered while trying to survive twelve years of Catholic School, he worked just about every job going from postal worker to marijuana dealer before finding his way to Independent Television News of London in 1980. He was inspired by what he called ‘the nobility of television news in getting into dangerous places to tell the stories of innocent lives caught in the crossfire of conflict’. He became one of the network’s top cameramen/editors winning several international awards. He travelled and worked through seventy-eight countries across six continents.
WAR JUNKIE, his autobiography of a life behind the camera in some of the worst places on earth, was published in 2002 by Transworld. The book is today recognised as a cult classic of war reportage.
In Baghdad during the run up to the Second Iraq War, he became disillusioned with television news, believing it was assisting American and British politicians lie the world into war. He put his camera on the ground and quit. He drove out of Baghdad, reaching the Jordanian border as American bombs fell on nearby Iraqi positions. He became a recluse, hiding out in a small village in the south of France, writing stories and taking long walks in quiet places.
Five years later, he returned to Iraq and lived with an American combat unit for three months, filming their lives and recording their voices and capturing their raw emotions for the award winning documentary film THE BAKER BOYS: Inside the Surge.
Jon’s work as a news cameraman (and his ongoing struggle with PTSD) was highlighted in the 2011 Canadian documentary film UNDER FIRE: Journalists in Combat. The film was shortlisted for an Academy Award.
Presently, he lives in Switzerland with his Jordanian-born wife and the two abandoned cats they found in an Amman road. THE WATCHERS (published by Transworld and Blue Rider Press) is his first novel, and the first book of a trilogy continuing with ANGEL CITY and THE WAY OF SORROWS.