Tom de Castella is a freelance journalist based in London. Since 2002 he has written features for newspapers and magazines on subjects ranging from youth gangs and Mugabe’s Zimbabwe to Brian Clough and wild swimming. Between 2011 and 2015 he worked as a feature writer at the BBC news online’s Magazine section.
Born in 1974, he grew up close to the Midlands brewing town of Burton on Trent, which in those days dozed under a yeasty, hoppy haze. An unsatisfying experience with a can of furtively opened Kestrel lager at the age of six was later followed by a growing appreciation of real ale.
After a degree in English literature at Newcastle University, he spent a year in Madrid teaching English. In 1999 he completed a Masters in journalism at Sheffield University and the following year began working as a reporter and then news editor on magazines covering town planning and urban regeneration.
In 2002 he turned freelance to go to Zimbabwe for a presidential election in which Robert Mugabe used violence and fraud to defeat opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. Tom spent two further periods in the country working undercover for the Sunday Times, Observer and Prospect among others. Since then he has been based in London. He writes features about British society as well as occasional pieces from around the world. Highlights include an investigation of the Ouzo yacht mystery, a piece on how climate scientists see the future, a first person account of drug trials at Northwick Park Hospital and what it’s like to be a European Union election observer in Latin America.
A note on the site from Tom: This is a work in progress. It’s not supposed to be exhaustive or chronological. The point is to give an idea of what kind of features I write and to preserve some of the older pieces that might not be findable online. My last website was “riddled with malware” according to my new web guru James. So apologies if you find any pieces missing copy or including spam links. I’m working to fill in the gaps and remove rogue mentions of erectile dysfunction, PPI and holistic pet services. But it might take a while.