Isabel Hilton


Over a long career in national and international print, online and broadcast media, Isabel Hilton has covered global politics, conflict, development, human rights, climate change and environmental degradation. In recent years her work has focussed on the impacts of a rising China with particular emphasis on climate change and China’s global environmental footprint. In addition to her writing career, she has made several radio and television documentaries and presented both BBC’s Radio 4 current affairs programme The World Tonight and Radio 3’s arts and cultural strand, Night Waves. Hilton joined Scottish Television as a presenter in 1976, moving later that year to the Daily Express as feature writer after being blacklisted by MI5 from a job at the BBC. She left the Daily Express five months later to join the Sunday Times where she subsequently held posts as feature writer, news reporter, Insight reporter and Latin America editor. She covered the Falklands War from Buenos Aires in 1982 and continued to cover Latin America until the Sunday Times became embroiled in the dispute over its move to Wapping. She left the Sunday Times to join the founding team at The Independent as Latin America Editor. In 1989 she became Europe Editor, covering the fall of communism in Europe, then Chief Feature Writer. In 1994 she left The Independent to work on a book, whilst also taking up a new role as presenter of The World Tonight (1995–98) on BBC Radio 4, and from 1999 as presenter of Nightwaves on BBC Radio 3. She contributed a regular column to The Guardian 1997–2003) and from 2000 to 2003 was also a staff writer on the New Yorker magazine, reporting from Latin America, South Asia and Europe. From March 2005 to July 2007, she was editor and then editor-in-chief of In 2006 Hilton founded Chinadialogue, a fully bilingual not-for-profit newsroom dedicated to covering climate change with a particular focus on China. This was followed in 2010 by the Third Pole and later by and Hilton served as editor and CEO of the organisation, publishing reports from China, Latin America, east, south and Southeast Asia and the United States in a total of eleven languages. In 2021 she stepped back from her role as CEO to become Senior Adviser to the organisation, finally stepping down from that role in 2023. In January 2023 Hilton became a contributing editor at Prospect Magazine. Hilton’s written work has also appeared in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the New Statesman, The Economist, Granta, the Mail on Sunday, the Observer, the Financial Times, El Pais, Le Monde, La Stampa, Lettres Internationale, International Affairs, The World Today, The New European, Index on Censorship, Vogue (British and American), The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph, the Times Literary Supplement, Foreign Policy The Literary Review, the London Review of Books, China File, Foreign Policy and many others.