Girling, Richard 1945-

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GIRLING, Richard 1945-

PERSONAL: Born November 14, 1945, in Hitchin, England; son of William George (a sales manager) and Betty (a civil servant; maiden name, Pontin) Girling; married Rosemary King, September 20, 1969; children: Thomas. Education: Attended Hitchin Boys' Grammar School in Hertfordshire, England. Religion: "Skeptic."

ADDRESSES: Home—Crouches, Newnham, near Baldock, Hertfordshire, England. Office—Sunday Times, 200 Grays Inn Rd., London WC1, England. Agent—Curtis Brown Ltd., 1 Craven Hill, London W2 3EP, England.

CAREER: Sunday Times, London, England, sub-editor of magazine, 1970-73, editor of letters page, 1973-75, editor of "Scene" page, beginning 1975, currently investigative reporter. Fellow Commoner of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, 1981. Member of board of management of Watch Trust for Environmental Education.

AWARDS, HONORS: British Press Award, "specialist writer of the year," 2002.


Ielfstan's Place (novel), Heinemann (London, England), 1981, published as The Forest on the Hill, Viking (New York, NY), 1982.

Sprigg's War (novel), Heinemann (London, England), 1984.

(Editor) The Sunday Times Travel Book, David & Charles (Newton Abbot, England), 1985.

(Editor) The New Sunday Times Travel Book, David & Charles (Newton Abbot, England), 1986.

(Editor) The Sunday Times Travel Book Three, David & Charles (Newton Abbot, England), 1987.

(Editor) The Sunday Times Lifeplan, Collins (London, England), 1987.

(Editor) The Making of the English Garden, Macmillan (London, England), 1988.

(Editor) The Best of Sunday Times Travel, David & Charles (Newton Abbot, England), 1988.

(Editor, with Shona Crawford Poole) Sunday Times Cook's Companion, Ebury, 1993.

(Author of text) Hidden Depths: From Autostereogram to Hypervision, Studio Editions (London, England), 1994.

The View from the Top: A Panoramic Guide to Finding Britain's Most Beautiful Vistas, photographs by Paul Barker, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1997.

Contributor to The Sunday Times Bedside Book, edited by George Darby, Deutsch (London, England), 1978; and The Sunday Times Book of the Countryside, edited by Philip Clarke, Brian Jackman, and Derrik Mercer, Macdonald (London, England), 1980. Contributor to magazines and newspapers.

SIDELIGHTS: Richard Girling is a former editor of the "Scene" page in the Sunday Times, a leisure and environment section, responsible for covering conservation, ecology, architecture, travel, gardening, motoring, and property. Girling still works for the section, now as an investigative reporter on environmental issues. His 2001 feature stories on hoof-and-mouth disease and abuses in the salmon industry helped him to win the 2002 "specialist writer of the year" citation from the British Press Awards. Girling is also noted for editing travel books, and is the author of The View from the Top: A Panoramic Guide to Finding Britain's Most Beautiful Vistas, a book that explores fifteen of the best vistas in the British Isles and offers maps and directions to the sites.

Girling once commented: "The documentary style of my historical fiction grows out of a fascination with 'the spirit of place,' which is also the concern of conservation, and out of a determination not to fall into the traditionally florid, falsely romantic mold of historical novel writing.

"The Forest on the Hill is the history of an English rural community, from its first stirrings in 15,000 B.C. to the end of the Great War, told not as a single connective narrative but as a series of short stories or vignettes, each designed to be a reflection of an age.

There is a conscious emphasis on historical correctness—some of it necessarily brutal—for it is my ambition that the reader should lay down the book and say, 'That is what it must have been like'; not, 'I wish I had been there.'

"Out of a true understanding of the past grows an appreciation of the present, from which in turn emerges one of the founding principles of conservation: That none of it should have been in vain."



Library Journal, June 15, 1982.

Sunday Times, March 24, 2002, "Sunday Times Wins Top Press Award," p. 2.*