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Philip Kerr

b. 1956 – d. 2018

Philip Kerr was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2018.

Philip Kerr was an advertising copywriter before becoming a full-time writer in 1989. He wrote over 30 books, and is known for the Bernie Gunther series of historical thrillers set in Germany and elsewhere during the 1930s, the Second World War and the Cold War.


Philip Kerr remembered – by Lisa Appignanesi

Fine writer and exceptional supporter of literature

Philip was elected a Fellow of the RSL late last year, and accepted before he sadly died in March. He was a fine writer, hailed even more in the us than here, and an extraordinary supporter of literature – the RSL owes him a great debt for his work and his generosity. I knew him a little, and was very fond of his sometimes acerbic wit, so very present in Bernie Gunther, the hero of his historical thrillers set in Germany and elsewhere during the 1930s, the Second World War and the Cold War, starting with the Berlin Noir trilogy. In 1993, Kerr was named one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists. Philip’s love of literature started early – at twelve he stole the key to a cupboard in which Lady Chatterley’s Lover was hidden – and he also wrote children’s books, under the name P.B. Kerr, including the Children of the Lamp series. Philip’s final book, the fourteenth Bernie Gunther novel, Metropolis, will be published in 2019.