Richard Beatty
More about me
Richard Beatty - writer and editor

I originally come from Edinburgh, Scotland, where my father was a career scientist.  After many years working in Oxford and London, I moved back to live in Edinburgh in 2009.

My degree is in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University. At Cambridge I specialized in zoology, but I also studied other life sciences, chemistry, and the history and philosophy of science as part of my degree.


Career  notes


1981–5: Scientific lexicographer in the dictionary department at Oxford University Press (OUP).


1985–9: Desk editor first in the OUP science and medical department and then on the Oxford Illustrated Encyclopedia project.


1989–92: Senior desk editor in the reference department of Blackwell Publishers, Oxford. Here I dealt with many high-level titles in the humanities and social sciences, including the launch of the groundbreaking Blackwell Companions to Philosophy series.


1992–3: Took a career break, moving to London and attending full-time writing courses.


1994 to 2008: Freelance writer and editor in London. Much of my work in London was home-based, although I also worked in-house at Dorling Kindersley, the Brown Reference Group, Bloomsbury Publishers, and Harcourt.


2002 onwards: I resumed my links with the scientific team on the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) as part of the current long-term project to revise the entire 20-volume OED and its electronic counterpart. Based at the British Library until 2008 and the National Library of Scotland thereafter, I've now researched thousands of words and phrases for the project.  This work is part time and leaves me free to continue my other freelance activities.


2009: Moved to Edinburgh, where I have continued my established mixture of writing and editing projects, including working in various capacities for the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh publications department. 


Other interests

As well as science and natural history, I have many other interests including philosophy, history, and literature. I’m particularly keen on poetry, from classical times to the present, so if anyone wishes me to write about that they’re most welcome to ask! (For anyone interested, I've published several personal essays about poetry here.) I also do a lot of singing with choirs and operatic groups. On a ‘trivia’ note, I was a semi-finalist on the BBC quiz programme Mastermind in 1981.