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Dr Richard Hamblyn

  • Overview



    I am an environmental writer and historian, with a particular interest in the cultural cross-currents that run between the arts and the sciences. 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 (2009), a study of natural disasters, and The Art of Science: a Natural History of Ideas (2011), an anthology of readable science writing from the Babylonians to the Higgs boson. I've also written several illustrated books on weather in association with the UK Met Office, and edited Daniel Defoe's first book, The Storm (1704) for Penguin Classics (2005).

    More recently, my monograph Clouds: Nature and Culture, came out in 2017, with a companion volume, The Sea: Nature and Culture, published in 2021. Current writing projects include a history of meteorology and a book of (mostly) true stories about real and imagined places. 



    • BA (Hons), University of Essex
    • MA, University of Essex
    • PhD, University of Cambridge
    • PGCHE, Birkbeck, University of London

    Web profiles

    Professional memberships

    • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (since 2011)

  • Research


    Research interests

    • Creative Non-fiction
    • Weather and climate
    • Environmental writing
    • Nature and culture
  • Supervision and teaching

    Supervision and teaching


    I welcome enquiries from prospective PhD students who are interested in undertaking research in any area of environmental writing / cultural geography. Prospective PhD students should submit an informal inquiry, followed by a proposal of 2,000-4,000 words, including an indicative bibliography.

    Current doctoral researchers


    Doctoral alumni since 2013-14



    I teach on a range of undergraduate and postgraduate modules in English, Theatre, and Creative Writing, mostly in the realm of prose non-fiction, but also venturing into fiction and other forms, including poetry, graphic works and verbatim drama. 

    Teaching modules

    • Narrative Methods (AREN005S5)
    • Creative Non-fiction (AREN100S5)
    • Independent Reading Portfolio: Critical Reflection (AREN181H6)
    • Fiction Workshop 1 (AREN287S4)
    • The Writing Industry (AREN289S5)
    • Creative Non-Fiction (ENHU002S7)
  • Publications




    Book Section

    • Hamblyn, Richard (2022) Behold... The Sea. In: BBC Proms Guide 2022. BBC Publications. pp. 104-107. ISBN 9781912114115.
    • Hamblyn, Richard (2014) The Krakatoa sunsets. In: Green, A. (ed.) The Public Domain Review Selected Essays: The First Three Years: 2011-2013. Cambridge, UK: PDR Press. pp. 146-153. ISBN 9772056953005.
    • Hamblyn, Richard and Southam, J. (2012) The river - Winter. In: The River - Winter. London, UK: Mack Books. pp. 87-94. ISBN 9781907946288.