Richard Hamblyn

Richard Hamblyn (born 1965) is a British environmental writer and historian. He is a lecturer in the Department of English, Theatre and Creative Writing at Birkbeck, University of London,[1] and has contributed to the Sunday Times, The Guardian, the Independent, the Times Literary Supplement and the London Review of Books.[2]

His books include The Invention of Clouds: How an Amateur Meteorologist Forged the Language of the Skies (2001, Picador, ISBN 978-0330391955), an account of the life and work of Luke Howard which won a 2001 Los Angeles Times Book Prize[3] and was shortlisted for the 2002 Samuel Johnson Prize;[4][5] Terra: Tales of the Earth (2009, Picador, ISBN 978-0330490733), a study of natural disasters, a BBC Wales Science Book of the Year;[6] and an anthology of science writing, The Art of Science: a Natural History of Ideas (2011, Picador, ISBN 978-0330490764).[7] He has also written four illustrated books on weather in association with the UK Met Office, including The Cloud Book (2008, ISBN 978-07153-28088); Extraordinary Clouds (2009, ISBN 978-07153-32818); and Extraordinary Weather (2012, ISBN 978-14463-01913), and edited Daniel Defoe's first book, The Storm (1704) for Penguin Classics (2005, ISBN 978-0141-43992-1). Works written in collaboration with the British landscape photographer Jem Southam include Clouds Descending (2009) and The River in Winter (2012).

In the academic year 2008–09 Hamblyn was writer-in-residence at the University College London Environment Institute, and produced the book Data Soliloquies (Slade Press, 2009, ISBN 9780903305044) with Martin John Callanan who was artist-in-residence for the same year.[8]

Selected publicationsEdit

  • ‘The British Audiences for Volcanoes’, in Transports: Travel, Pleasure and Imaginative Geography 1600–1830, ed. Chlöe Chard and Helen Langdon (Yale University Press, 1996)
  • The Invention of Clouds (Picador, 2001)
  • Daniel Defoe, The Storm, ed. (Penguin Classics, 2003)
  • Literature & Science, 1660–1834, vol 3: ‘Earthly Powers’, ed. (Pickering & Chatto, 2003: one of an 8-volume series of edited anthologies of science-themed writing from the long eighteenth century
  • 'Water with Altitude', Times Educational Supplement, 17 January 2003: illustrated article about Luke Howard and the naming of clouds
  • 'It was a Dark and Stormy Night', The Times Weekend Review, 1 November 2003: an account of the 1703 storm
  • The Gathering Storms', The Independent Review, 26 November 2003: an account of the 1703 storm
  • The White Stuff, BBC Radio 4, broadcast 17 May 2004, repeated 7 January 2005: a 30-minute documentary on the literature and science of clouds
  • 'Hurrah for the Dredge', London Review of Books, 3 November 2005
  • ‘A Celestial Journey’, Tate Etc 5 (2005), pp. 84–91
  • The Cloud Book: How to Understand the Skies (D&C/Met Office, 2008)
  • ‘Notes from Underground: Lisbon after the Earthquake’, Romanticism 14:2 (2008)
  • ‘On Metal Beach’, in Clouds Descending, ed. Jem Southam (Lowry Press, 2008)
  • ‘The Whistleblower and the Canary: Rhetorical Constructions of Climate Change’, Journal of Historical Geography 35:2 (2009)
  • Terra: Tales of the Earth (Picador, 2009)
  • Extraordinary Clouds (D&C/Met Office, 2009)
  • Data Soliloquies (with Martin John Callanan) (Slade Press, 2009)
  • 'Simply Putting on Weight', London Review of Books (25 February 2010)
  • ‘Something to be Clever About’, in A Book of King’s, ed. Karl Sabbagh (Third Millennium Publishing, 2010)
  • Supercell (with Kevin Erskine) (Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2011)
  • 'Of Exactitude in Science’, in Future Climate Change, ed. Mark Maslin and Samuel Randalls (Routledge, 2011)
  • Extraordinary Weather (D&C/Met Office, 2012)
  • 'Winter', in The River Winter, ed. Jem Southam (Mack, 2012)
  • The Art of Science: A Natural History of Ideas (Picador, 2012)
  • 'Albert Einstein', BBC Radio 3, broadcast 18 January 2013: a contribution to the Essay series Five Portraits of Science[9]
  • 'Wilderness with a cast of thousands', Times Literary Supplement (26 April 2013)
  • Tsunami: Nature and Culture (Reaktion, 2014)
  • ‘Die Krakatau-Briefe von Gerard Manley Hopkins’, Sinn und Form 3/2014 (2014)
  • 'Watchers of the Skies', Times Literary Supplement (20 May 2015)[10]
  • Clouds: Nature and Culture (Reaktion, 2017)
  • 'How Much Are They Paying You?', Mechanics' Institute Review, 16 (2019)


  1. ^ "Academic staff: Richard Hamblyn". Birkbeck: Department of English and Humanities. Retrieved 12 October 2012.
  2. ^ "Richard Hamblyn". London Review of Books. Retrieved 12 October 2012.
  3. ^ "2001 Los Angeles Times Book Prizes Winners". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 21 November 2015. Retrieved 10 March 2020.
  4. ^ "Shortlist 2002". The Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
  5. ^ Eder, Richard (31 July 2001). "Books of the Times: He Gave Names to Clouds and Renown to Himself". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 October 2012.
  6. ^ "Terra by Richard Hamblyn". London Evening Standard. 20 August 2009. Retrieved 12 October 2012.
  7. ^ Forbes, Peter (28 October 2011). "The Art of Science by Richard Hamblyn – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 October 2012.
  8. ^ Waelder, Pau (3 February 2010). "Data Soliloquies". Furtherfield. Retrieved 12 October 2012.
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