Christopher Hitchens

On this date in 1949, writer and columnist Christopher Eric Hitchens was born in Portsmouth, England. He attended Cambridge and graduated from Oxford in 1970, reading in philosophy, politics and economics. From 1971-81 he worked as a book reviewer for The Times of London.

In 1981 he emigrated to the United States. He wrote “Minority Report,” a column for The Nation, from 1982-2002. He then wrote for Slate, The Daily Mirror, The Atlantic Monthly, Vanity Fair, Harper’s and several other publications. As a foreign correspondent, he covered events in 60 countries on five continents. He became a U.S. citizen in 2007.

Hitchens wrote a host of books, but is best-known in freethought circles for authoring The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice (1995) and God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everthing (2007). His criticisms of President Clinton and support for President Bush’s 2003 invasion of Iraq made him increasingly controversial among progressive readership, but he remained a stalwart atheist and iconoclast. When the Freedom From Religion Foundation instituted its Honorary Board of Directors in 2010, Hitchens was a member.

In “Papal Power: John Paul II’s other legacy” (, April 1, 2005), Hitchens pointed out that the pope “was a part of the cover-up and obstruction of justice that allowed the child-rape scandal to continue for so long.”

Hitchens married Eleni Meleagrou, a Greek Cypriot, in 1981. They had a son, Alexander, and a daughter, Sophia. After divorcing, he married Carol Blue, an American screenwriter, in a ceremony at the apartment of Victor Navasky, editor of The Nation. He and Blue had a daughter, Antonia.

After being diagnosed in 2010 with esophageal cancer, he died of pneumonia at age 62 at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. (D. 2011)

Freedom From Religion Foundation