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Leigh Turner

This is a page about the writer and former ambassador Leigh Turner, who has also written under the pen-name of Robert Pimm.  To read about my thrillers and comedies, click here.

Who is Leigh Turner?  Well, I was conceived in Nigeria and spent the first three years of my life there.  I’m the one on the left, my brother Stephen is holding the pram upright.

Leigh Turner, Nigeria

Growing up

I lived in Exeter, in the south-west of England, from ages 3-6 (my father was teaching at the university there) and in Roma, Lesotho (ditto), from ages 6-12.

Leigh Turner, Lesotho

Here I’m the one with bare feet. In the middle Bernard and Reginald Tekateka, on the right Stephen. Bernard (second left) tragically died in a car crash in 1978. Reginald was later the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps in Bonn.
Leigh Turner, LesothoThis pic shows us playing Monopoly, a key activity in those days.

For a glimpse of why Lesotho is special, see my post Ten reasons to like Lesotho, including numerous pictures (links in bold italics are to other posts on this site).

In 1969-70 I went to Waterford Kamhlaba School in Swaziland.  I am grinning in this picture (standing next to Stephen) because I am wearing one of my first ever pairs of long trousers.  I still have this tie; the yellow dot on a blue background is a phoenix rising.

Leigh Turner and Stephen Turner, Swaziland (Eswatini)

In 1970 my mum and dad moved to Manchester, where he was Professor at the University and she did a PhD and became a teacher of partially hearing children. I studied at Manchester Grammar School. In 1975 my world looked like this. How many signs of international activity can you spot?

Leigh Turner 1975

In 1976 I went up to Cambridge University and in 1979 started work (see below).  The following picture, taken in West Virginia in 1982, bears no resemblance to me today.  Read more about my travels in the U.S., in Russia, or in my Leigh Turner Biography pages.

Leigh Turner 1981

Fiction writing

I started writing fiction in 1985 – see my novels and short stories pages.   My diplomatic career has provided much inspiration, including visits to Nevada, Moscow, Penang, Washington DC, Kyiv, Berlin, Hong Kong, Vladivostok, St Helena, Vienna, Buenos Aires, Beijing, Bermuda, Samarkand, Istanbul,  Vienna and even Brussels.

My blog

I began this writing blog in 2014 and have sought to fill it with material of interest.  Please do explore and let me know in the “comments” section at the foot of each page if you’d like me to write about something else (or stop writing).  You can find your way via the 7 pleasure paths.

My work

From 1979 to 2021 I worked as a British diplomat and civil servant.  My last three postings were Ambassador to Ukraine, 2008-12; Consul-General and Director General for Trade and Investment for Turkey, South Caucasus and Central Asia (long title) in Istanbul 2012-16; and Ambassador to Austria and UK Permanent Representative to the International Organisations in Vienna (another long title) 2016-21.

For reflections on my decades as a diplomat, see my “Diplomatic lessons” posts on LinkedIn. My forthcoming book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Diplomacy will develop these diplomatic lessons further. I hope it will become required reading for diplomats and others everywhere.

My books

In April 2021 I signed with US publisher Immortal Works to publish my Istanbul thriller PALLADIUM.  You can read an excerpt here.

My Berlin thriller, Blood Summit, is my best-selling book.  Look on Amazon to read what people say about it.  You can see me reading from Blood Summit at the Reichstag in Berlin in the video below.

My black comedy feminist collection Seven Hotel Stories stars Ms N, the world’s most brilliant, unpredictable and deadly hotel manager and her beautiful but naive ally, Tatiana.  Again,  reviews are on Amazon.

Seven Hotel Stories

My satirical thriller ETERNAL LIFE is my most ambitious work.  It explores immortality, inequality, drugs, politics, organ trafficking and the limits of capitalism in a rich, alternative world two hundred years into the future. How would society, and crime, change if some people lived forever?  Click here  (UK), here (US) or here (Germany and Austria) to see more.

Eternal Life

Leigh Turner: more info

You can read more about me, including my taste in music, in my post Sixty Seconds with Leigh Turner.

Listen to this one-hour interview with me on “Free Radio Innsbruck” (in English, with a few words of German), focused on Blood Summit, including four readings, in October 2019.

If you want to see what I get up to, please subscribe to this blog (scroll down this page to where it says “subscribe to my updates”) or follow me on Twitter: @rleighturner or Instagram: robert_pimm or Facebook.  


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5 Responses

  1. Merhaba Robert Bey,

    Umarım iyisinizdir.

    Sorry to write here but there is no contact button on your website.

    I am about to finish writing a book on Turkish Grammar. I am looking for speakers of English who are keen to learn Turkish so that I can test my book before it goes to print. I am using the Google Helpouts platform to do this. I don’t know if this would be of any interest to you or your colleagues?

    I look forward to hearing from you.



    P.S. My Google Helpouts listings:

    1. Dear Yusuf

      Thanks for this. I am having good Turkish lessons at the moment with Concept Languages here in Istanbul. But I will leave up your comment for a while in case others find your link helpful.

      Best wishes,


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