Between the secret state and the public sphere: the writer as intermediary

Alan Burton, Huw Dylan, Jago Morrison*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This essay explores the unique roles played by writers as intermediaries between the secret state and the public sphere, providing an introduction to the special issue Writers in Intelligence. Though frequently remarked upon, the history, nature, and politics of this relationship remains under-studied. Some spies-turned-writers write in the hope of legitimizing a problematic role, others to own their own identities in a police state. For some, writing is an avenue for critique of a toxic security culture, while others have lent their skills to intelligence agencies as a form of patriotic duty. We examine how fictional representations of intelligence work have been both a boon and a hindrance to various secret services; and how exposing elements of intelligence work can occasionally lead to conspiracy rather than clarity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-201
Number of pages9
JournalIntelligence and National Security
Issue number2
Early online date22 Feb 2024
Publication statusPublished - 2024


Dive into the research topics of 'Between the secret state and the public sphere: the writer as intermediary'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this