Karl Whitney is a writer of nonfiction. He is interested in stories from the present that he can reconstruct through interviews or experience first-hand as a reporter, or those from the past that can be gleaned from the historical record. Karl’s work often focuses on landscape, particularly cities. His debut, Hidden City: Adventures and Explorations in Dublin (Penguin, 2014) was a highly acclaimed travelogue that playfully investigated Ireland’s capital in the aftermath of the economic crash. It was a Guardian book of the week. His second book, Hit Factories: A Journey Through the Industrial Cities of British Pop (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2019), was a personal exploration of the musical and social history of the UK’s regional cities, and was also a Guardian book of the week. In 2013, he won the Authors’ Foundation John Heygate award for travel writing. In 2019, the Irish Times named him as one of the top ten rising stars of Ireland’s literary scene.
As a journalist he has written for the Irish Times, Guardian and London Review of Books, and many other publications, about subjects including: the agoraphobic advertising man who recorded the sounds of mid-twentieth century New York; the long, slow death of the British estate pub; and an underground fire smouldering beneath a golf course in Gateshead.
He has a BA in History and English and a PhD in French History from University College Dublin, and an MA in Modernism from University of East Anglia. He has lived in north-east England since 2013.