Fergus Nicoll

Fergus Nicoll is a journalist and author, currently presenting Business Matters on the BBC World Service.


Fergus Nicoll was educated at Ampleforth College, Christ Church, Oxford (BA Oriental Studies) and Reading University (PhD: "Gladstone, Gordon and Sudan, 1883-5").


After working as a teacher in northern Sudan, he began his career with the BBC in 1988 with the African Service.[1] He moved to the BBC's Cairo Bureau in 1992 and spent three years (1996-9) as a World Affairs Correspondent, filing for the World Service and BBC World TV. In 1999-2000, he was Press Officer for Olara Otunnu, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict. From 2001-12, he was a freelance presenter on the BBC World Service radio programme The World Today. From August 2012-July 2013 he was Public Relations and Publications Manager at the Rift Valley Institute. From April-June 2012, Dr Nicoll was the 2013 Sir William Luce Fellow at Durham University, where he carried out research on the Da'irat al-Mahdi in Sudan.[2] From September 2013 to August 2014 he worked in Doha, Qatar, as a Programme Editor and Executive Producer for Al Jazeera English.


In 2004, Nicoll published a biography of the Mahdi of Sudan, The Sword of the Prophet:The Mahdi of Sudan and the Death of General Gordon. His second book, a biography of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, was published by Haus Publishing in April 2009 as Shah Jahan: The Rise and Fall of the Mughal Emperor. Penguin-India (under the Viking imprint) published the same volume in September 2009. Returning to Sudan studies, Nicoll published An Index to the Complete Works of al-Imam al-Mahdi in June 2009. The Abd-al-Karim Mirghani Cultural Centre in Omdurman followed this with the publication of an Arabic translation of The Mahdi of Sudan in October 2009, under the title Seif al-Nabi: Mahdi al-Sudan. In September 2010, the Qasim Data Centre in Khartoum published Nicoll's Bibliography of the Mahdia. In April 2013, Pen & Sword published his reappraisal of British policy in Sudan: Gladstone, Gordon and the Sudan Wars, 1883-5: The Battle over Imperial Intervention in the Victorian Age. In July 2013, Durham University published his Luce Lecture as 'Da'irat al-Mahdi: Money, Faith and Politics in Sudan'. In late 2014, the Modestine Press in Milton Keynes published the first in a series of annotated editions of important primary sources relating to the Sudan wars: A Cool, Equable Judgement: The Sudan Journal of Lt.-Col. J. Donald Hamill-Stewart. This is due to be followed in 2016/17 by the first unexpurgated edition of General Charles Gordon's celebrated campaign journals, A Perfect Pandemonium: The Khartoum Journal of Maj.-Gen. Charles Gordon, and the correspondence of the Times correspondent Frank Power. Nicoll's more recent article in the area of Sudan studies is 'Fatwa and Propaganda: Contemporary Muslim Responses to the Sudanese Mahdiyya', in Islamic Africa 7/2 (2016): 239-65.



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