Robin Blake has written books, journalism, scripts and essays on many subjects. His early books include Mind Over Medicine (1986) and Compulsion (1987), and the novels Fat Man’s Shadow (1988) and The Gwailo (1990). In the 1990s Robin wrote principally on art history, with biographies of Anthony Van Dyck (1999) and George Stubbs (2005), while Essential Modern Art came out in 2000. Reverting in 2011 to fiction, he published A Dark Anatomy, his first ‘ante-procedural’ 18th-century crime story about Titus Cragg, coroner of Preston. The second Dark Waters followed in 2012 and a third is forthcoming. Robin maintains a close engagement with the visual arts by regularly reviewing exhibitions for the Financial Times.
Initially, after reading English at Cambridge, Robin taught in British state schools and then, under the aegis of the British Council, in Bulgaria and Turkey. He found these experiences of living in first a communist country, and then in a primarily Muslim one, eye-opening. Back in the UK Robin worked for Capital Radio’s features unit producing historical documentaries and drama, many of which were heard around the Independent Radio network. He has also taught radio production at Goldsmiths, London.
He has contributed a number of essays to the quarterly Slightly Foxed. He has also been a ghost-writer and adapter of film and television scripts, while, since 2010, irregular blogs on assorted subjects (such as 18th-century shipwreck, the death of James Joyce and Stubbs’s portrait of Captain Cook’s kangaroo) have appeared on his website.