Matt Potter is a British journalist, author, editor, broadcaster and scriptwriter.
He has reported for BBC Radio from Eastern Europe, Afghanistan and Southeast Asia, co-presented Radio 1’s award-winning global travel shows, and presented and carried out investigations for the Discovery channel and Channel 4. He’s published three books – two for the BBC, and Outlaws Inc., his latest, in 26 countries and a handful of languages. A W.H. Smith Bestseller, Outlaws Inc is now in development as a Hollywood movie. Matt is also one of the team behind feature documentary The Notorious Mr Bout, on the life and times of arms smuggler Viktor Bout. The film premiered at Robert Redford’s Sundance Film Festival in January 2014, and is scheduled to lead the BBC’s Storyville documentary season in 2015. A fourth book, F*** You & Goodbye, is out worldwide in autumn 2014, published by Constable & Robinson.
As a journalist in Belgrade, he broke the story of the NATO ‘spy’ giving away secrets to Serb forces on the web, and was taken in for questioning by MI5 as a result. His nose for the unusual has seen his writing appear in places as diverse as the Daily Telegraph, The Evening Standard, London Lite, Sabotage Times, Golf Monthly, Esquire, Sunday Telegraph, Jack, Maxim, the Irish Examiner, and Hot Air, and he’s been called on for on-air expertise and opinion by the BBC, CNN, Fox (I know, sorry), ARD and more. His reports on cocaine trafficking in Latin America have been published in Russian, German and English.
His first internationally published book, Outlaws Inc draws on his first-hand experience of the biggest, most secretive smuggling and trafficking network in history – all the way from the collapse of the Soviet Union, through the last, gun-running, money-laundering days of Slobodan Milosevic’s mafia-held Serbia, through Afghanistan and the contraband-thick waters of South America’s ‘Cocaine Coast’. A piece of non-fiction investigative work, the story it tells is also an alternate history of the times we live in. Outlaws Inc available now in the UK and Commonwealth and the US as well as in German, Italian and Finnish editions.
Throughout winter 2012 and spring 2013, Outlaws Inc was the condensed non-fiction read of the season in Reader’s Digest worldwide, translated into dozens of languages from Cantonese and Bahasa Malaysia to Slovenian and Spanish.
His work on Outlaws Inc informed his next project, the documentary feature The Notorious Mr Bout – a study produced by Maxim Pozdorovkin and directed by Tony Gerber, in which Matt and a handful of international arms sleuths retrace their steps on the hunt for the Merchant of Death’, Russian weapons dealer Viktor Bout. The film won a prize on its premier at Sundance 2014, and opened in cinemas across the world through the spring and summer of 2014 – with Matt touring and addressing audiences at festivals and premieres. The film was given its TV premiere in the autumn as part of the BBC’s Storyville season.
His second major book, F**k You & Goodbye: The Dark & Hilarious History of the Resignation, was published by Little, Brown in November 2014, and was serialized in The Independent and The Telegraph, as well as being named The Week‘s ‘Recommended Christmas Read’ and breaking into Waterstone’s bestsellers list.
Matt speaks a handful of languages to wildly differing degrees, but attempts to speak at least 20 more. He currently lives in Britain, but enjoys driving around Eastern Europe, has a lifelong love of Baltic, Slavic and Central Asian cultures, and likes the Afghan food, culture and people so much he’d move to Kabul full-time if only the house and contents insurance wasn’t so expensive.
He’s also a creative consultant and digital/social media lead creative, and currently works as Head of Content for one of the world’s largest content agencies, based in London. You can contact him on Twitter @MattPotter, through LinkedIn, or via this website.