Skip to main content

Blake, Robin 1948-

Blake, Robin 1948-

(Robin James Blake)


Born December 12, 1948, in Preston, Lancashire, England; son of John (an engineer) and Beryl Blake; married Frances Waugh (a publisher), December 23, 1981; children: Matthew, Nicholas, Spike. Education: Jesus College, Cambridge, B.A., 1970, postgraduate certificate in education, 1972, M.A., 1974; Chelsea College, London, diploma, 1975. Religion: "Once a Catholic."


Home—London, England. Agent—Gill Coleridge, Rogers, Coleridge, White, 20 Powys Mews, London W.11, England. E-mail—[email protected]


Schoolteacher in England 1971-74; Institute for Tourism, Varna, Bulgaria, English teacher, 1975-76; English teacher at an English high school in Istanbul, Turkey, 1976-78; Capital Radio, London, England, broadcaster, producer, and writer of news, educational programs, and general features, 1979-86; freelance writer, 1986—. University of London, lecturer in radio production at Goldsmiths College, 1987-89.


Society of Authors, Radio Academy (member of council, 1984—), Association of Cinematograph and Television Technicians (member of executive committee, 1981-84).


Enigma (radio play), first broadcast by Capital Radio, 1984.

Mind over Medicine: Can the Mind Kill or Cure?, Pan Books (London, England), 1987.

(With Eleanor Stephens) Compulsion: A Psychological Study, Boxtree (London, England), 1987.

Fat Man's Shadow (novel), Penguin (London, England), 1991.

The Gwailo (novel), Penguin (London, England), 1992.

Anthony Van Dyck: A Life, 1599-1641, Ivan R. Dee (Chicago, IL), 2000.

Essential Modern Art, Parragon (Bath, England), 2000.

(With Clive Powell-Williams) Cold Burial, Penguin (London, England), 2001.

Saints, Collins (London, England), 2001.

(With Malcolm Warner) Stubbs and the Horse, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 2004.

George Stubbs and the Wide Creation: Animals, People, and Places in the Life of George Stubbs, 1724-1806, Chatto & Windus (London, England), 2005.

Writer of six-play series Tales of a City, broadcast by Capital Radio, 1983. Radio critic for Tablet, 1984. Contributor to periodicals, including Independent on Sunday and Financial Times.


Robin Blake once told CA: "I am motivated only by the desire to make a living by being a good writer. I will write for any medium that holds out this prospect, but I love radio particularly because of its devotion to words and to bringing them alive."

More recently Blake added: "I never write for radio now. I am still motivated by trying to write well while making a living, but this has turned out to be far from easy, and much of my time has been occupied by different forms of ghost-writing, which at least helps to pay the bills. It seems to me that, as publishers and booksellers have fallen increasingly for the allure of rapid mass sales, ‘good writing’ has begun to look like a niche market, comparable to cookery books or train spotters' guides. At the same time libraries hardly seem to be about ‘serious’ books at all any more, with pitiful acquisition budgets and absolutely no ambition to take a lead in promoting good writing. The same can be said of the education system. We await the impact of paperless publishing and the implications thereof for authors. I fear it will all make the economic position of the professional writer even more dire than it is today."

Blake wrote the "lively biography" Anthony Van Dyck: A Life, 1599-1641, which Times Literary Supplement contributor Theodore K. Rabb described as "a highly personal account" of the life of an artist who "left few letters or other private documentation," combined with Blake's "entertaining speculations, particularly about [Van Dyck's] psychology, sexual inclinations, and attitude toward the powerful figures he painted." Accord- ing to Rabb, "the basic story of the career is well told, and, to make up for the penurious illustrations, Blake lists some of the Web sites where the pictures can be found."



Times Literary Supplement, September 17, 1999, Theodore K. Rabb, review of Anthony Van Dyck: A Life, 1599-1641, pp. 18-19.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Blake, Robin 1948-." Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series. . 20 Apr. 2019 <>.

"Blake, Robin 1948-." Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series. . (April 20, 2019).

"Blake, Robin 1948-." Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series. . Retrieved April 20, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.