Dr Iain Overton

Executive Director

Email: ioverton@aoav.org.uk


Iain Overton is the Executive Director of Action on Armed Violence. Having researched armed violence in over two dozen conflicts or ‘hot spots’, a former BBC and ITN journalist, Overton heads up all of AOAV’s research and advocacy work.

He is an expert member of the Forum on the Arms Trade; sits on the Advisory Board for the NIHR Global Health Research Group on Post Conflict Trauma (PrOTeCT) at Imperial College London; and on the advisory board for the Center for the Study of Guns and Society at Wesleyan University.

He is also on the boards of the charities Every Casualty; is a visiting academic at the University of Southampton with the International Blast Research Network; and is a Co-Commissioner on a Lancet Commission on Global Gun Violence.

He has also been a member of an expert working group on explosive weapons for the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining; and on the advisory committee to the UK’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Explosive Weapons.

He has covered gun violence or armed conflict in Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Cambodia, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, Iraq, Israel, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Mexico, Mozambique, Pakistan, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Rwanda, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Somaliland, South Africa, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, the United States and Ukraine.

He often presents AOAV’s data at the United Nations and has spoken at the Oxford Union, Harvard, Cambridge, LSE, Chatham House as well as the Edinburgh and Hay Book Festivals on issues relating to armed violence.

He has also written for the Guardian, the LA Times, the IB Times, the Independent, GQ, Open Democracy, the Byline Times, the Huffington Post on the same. He has been a judge on the British Press Awards for many years, and has also judged for the Amnesty Media Awards and the Foreign Press Association Awards.

Overton’s human rights reporting has been awarded a Peabody Award, two Amnesty Awards, a OneWorld Media Award, a Prix Circom and a BAFTA Scotland. His work has also been shortlisted for 3 Royal Television Society Awards and a Foreign Press Association Award, among others.

He holds a PhD from the University of Portsmouth for his writing on guns and suicide bombings. He has been a lecturer in investigative journalism at a number of UK universities, including Birkbeck and City, and holds an MPhil and an MA from Cambridge University.

His first book, Gun Baby Gun (Canongate) was published in the UK in April 2015.  It was sold into the US (HarperCollins), Canada (McLelland & Stewart – Penguin), France (Belfond), Norway (Font), Netherlands  (Uitgeverij Q) and Taiwan/Hong Kong/Macau (China Times).

His second book, The Price of Paradise (Quercus) – how suicide bombers have helped shaped the modern world – was published in April 2019, with sales into the Netherlands (Uitgeverij Q) and Romania (Editura Corint). His books have been shortlisted for a Golden Dagger Award and a Neave Book Prize.


Gun Baby Gun: a bloody journey into the world of the gun.
Publisher: Canongate Books (16 April 2015)

The Price of Paradise: how the suicide bomber shaped the modern world
Publisher: Quercus (4 April 2019)