About Me

I am an environmental writer and historian, with a particular interest in the cultural cross-currents that flow between the sciences and the humanities. I was born in 1965 and grew up in Truro, Cornwall; Kingston, Jamaica; and Hastings, East Sussex (my adopted father was a fisheries biologist – hence the maritime locations).

I was educated at the Universities of Essex and Cambridge, where I wrote a doctoral dissertation on eighteenth-century topographical and geological writing. My books include The Invention of Clouds, which won the 2002 Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize; Terra: Tales of the Earth, a collection of stories about natural disasters; and The Cloud Book and Extraordinary Clouds, both published in association with the (UK) Met Office. Data Soliloquies (2010) is a collection of essays and artworks on the theme of visualising climate change, that I co-wrote and designed with the digital artist, Martin John Callanan, during our terms as writer and artist in residence at the UCL Environment Institute.

My most recent book is The Art of Science, an anthology of great science writing (and great writing about science) from the Babylonians to the Higgs boson, published in Picador paperback in October 2012. I have also written for a variety of newspapers and magazines, and have so far added most of my articles and reviews to this site – but you honestly don’t have to read them all. . .

I am currently a lecturer in creative writing at Birkbeck, University of London, and am working on a book of (mostly) true stories about (mostly) made-up landscapes.

5 responses to “About Me

  1. Vincent Miro

    Hello Richard. I’m the chap who spoke after your lecture yesterday night at the Old Ashmolean saying how very insightful I thought your vision of the development of a taxonomy of clouds is for an inquest into the real nature of Science.

    Just to ask you to keep me posted on any lecture or conference you might take part in the future. Thank you so much, regards,

    Vincent Miro

  2. Edward Spiro

    Dear Mr. Hamblyn
    The frog tale inserted within your very interesting review of The Universe Within in the TLS provided the arc of a short story that I found very enjoyable. Go frogs! Thanks.
    Edward Spiro

  3. Hello Richard,

    From afar, thanks for your maritime endorsements. Go Hanseatic League!

  4. Dear Richard Hamblyn,
    There was an article in this past Sunday New York Times magazine section called Head int he Clouds. It was wonderful and I wrote an email to the author (Jon Mooallem) to thank him for his sentiments with which I felt immediate kinship. I also mentioned to him that if he hadn’t seen your WONDERFUL book, the Invention of Clouds, he would I was sure, enjoy it. Then I realized that I could probably contact you and tell you personally how marvelous your book is and how dear to me the- by now well-worn copy is (I bought in 2001). I couldn’t begin to count how many times I have read it and savoured it.

    The subject matter of my work (I am a visual artist), has been clouds for many years and they continue to sustain my interest and passion.

    If you look at my website you will see the development of my cloud imagery: http://nonahersheywork.com

    My current solo exhibition in Boston, Massachusetts is called Sublime@Subliminal. In this work I am imagining the techno-chatter and signals we emit -and juxtapose that with clouds. The show can be previewed at http://soprafina.com

    Thank You for contributing so much to my past 15 years!
    Sincerely, Nona

  5. Pingback: Writing Well and Writing to Get Well: A series of events on Creative Writing and Mental Health | tobylitt

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