About Me
Photograph of Richard Platt
More about me page title

An inventive editor once wrote that I was “born in a storm-tossed rowing boat…” The truth is more dull! I was actually born in a hospital in Northumberland; my mother was a pharmacist and my father a civil engineer. I spent most of my childhood in an ordinary house in a south London suburb.

After leaving secondary school I spent a year on a student exchange at the Gunnery school in Connecticut, then returned to the UK to study civil engineering. I was rubbish at this, so I switched to a design degree course. Photography was my passion, and after graduating I worked for a small London gallery called Camerawork, then began writing a column in a photography magazine.

My first books

The first books I wrote were on photography, too, but my first real success was a collaboration with illustrator Stephen Biesty: Incredible Cross Sections. It sold more than a million copies for publishers Dorling Kindersley, and the Guardian later chose it as one of the three greatest children’s books of the 1990s.

I didn't stick to children's books. I wrote advertising copy and I worked in interactive multimedia. I even wrote restaurant reviews for the Automobile Association.

Gradually, themes emerged in my writing. I became an amateur expert on smuggling and piracy. (My website, smuggling.co.uk, is a top source for smuggling information.)


In 2014 I moved with my wife Mary to Hastings, on the East Sussex coast, and, well, everything changed. Hastings beach is the antidote to ambition! I started so many new and interesting things that I've had little time for writing. I help to run a local choir and a residents' association; Mary and I have an allotment plot, and volunteer for a local refugee buddy scheme. I studied stained glass at the local adult ed. college, and – as Light and Lead – I now make and sell stained glass panels.


Do I miss writing? Not much! I lead a very full, busy life, and I often wonder how I ever found the time to write. And a couple of shelves of books are a permanent reminder of my amazing good fortune. I was lucky enough to collaborate with some of the world's best illustrators, editors and designers at a time when it was still possible to make a living by writing non-fiction books for children.


Richard Platt as a baby

1950s With Mum

Richard Platt will Phil the Greek

1960s Meeting the Duke

Richard Platt with big hair

1970s Glum civil engineer

Richard Platt trying without success to be a photojournalist

1980s Wannabe photographer

Richard Platt working as a journalist for Marshall Cavendish

1990s Journalist

Richard Platt with chicken

1990s ... later Moving to the country

Richard Platt today