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Richard Dawkins biography

Author Biography  | Books by this Author  | Read-Alikes

Richard Dawkins
Lalla Ward

Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins Biography

Clinton Richard Dawkins was born in March 1941 in Nairobi, Kenya.  When he was eight his family moved to England where he attended Oundle School, and then Balliol College, Oxford, where he obtained a second class BA degree in zoology in 1962, followed by MA and DPhil degrees in 1966. 

He describes his childhood as "a normal Anglican upbringing", but he started to doubt the existence of God when he was about nine years old.  He later changed his opinion persuaded by the argument that a designer had been necessary to create the universe; however in his teens when he better understood evolution, he came to the conclusion that evolution could account for the complexity of life and that a designer was unnecessary.

For two years starting in 1967 he was an assistant professor of zoology at the University of California, Berkeley.  In 1970 he was appointed a lecturer at Oxford University, and in 1990 he was made a reader (a rank between senior lecturer and professor) in zoology at Oxford. In 1995, he became Oxford's Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science.  The position was endowed by philanthropist Charles Simonyi (who was the first to refer to Dawkins as "Darwin's rottweiller") with the express intention that Dawkins be its first holder. 

He first came to prominence in 1976 with the publication of The Selfish Gene, which popularized the gene-centric view of evolution.  He is an outspoken atheist, humanist and skeptic, and a prominent member of the Brights movement.  The term "Brights" was coined by Paul Geisert (an American former biology teacher, professor, writer and entrepreneur) who started the movement in 2003 as a positive-sounding umbrella term to describe people who have a naturalistic worldview (i.e. one without supernatural or mystical beliefs) in order to counter the more negative terms such as atheist, infidel or non-believer.

Dawkins's books include The Ancestor's Tale, The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker, Climbing Mount Improbable, Unweaving the Rainbow, A Devil's Chaplain, The God Delusion, and The Greatest Show on Earth.  In 2006 he founded The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science.

He has been married three times; first to Marian Stamp (1967-1984); then to Eve Barham with whom he has a daughter, Juliet Emma Dawkin.  Since 1992 he has been married to actress and artist Lalla Ward, who he met through their mutual friend, Douglas Adams.  They live in Oxford, England.

Richard Dawkins's website

This bio was last updated on 04/04/2016. In a perfect world, we would like to keep all of BookBrowse's biographies up to date, but with many thousands of lives to keep track of it's simply impossible to do. So, if the date of this bio is not recent, you may wish to do an internet search for a more current source, such as the author's website or social media presence. If you are the author or publisher and would like us to update this biography, send the complete text and we will replace the old with the new.

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Books by this Author

Books by Richard Dawkins at BookBrowse
Brief Candle in the Dark jacket An Appetite for Wonder jacket The Magic of Reality jacket The Greatest Show on Earth jacket
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Read-Alikes

All the books below are recommended as read-alikes for Richard Dawkins but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose read-alikes

  • Leila Aboulela

    Leila Aboulela

    Leila Aboulela won the first Caine Prize for African Writing and is the author of many novels. Minaret was longlisted for the 2006 Orange Prize. The Translator was one of The New York Times 100 Notable Books of the Year. ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The God Delusion

    Try:
    The Kindness of Enemies
    by Leila Aboulela

  • Karen Armstrong

    Karen Armstrong

    Karen Armstrong, author, scholar, and journalist, is among the world's foremost commentators on religious history and culture.

    She is the author of numerous books on religion, including The Case for God, A History of God, ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The God Delusion

    Try:
    The Battle For God
    by Karen Armstrong

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