Richard English

For the cricketer, see Richard English (cricketer).

Richard English, FBA, MRIA, FRSE, FRHistS (born 1963) is a historian from Northern Ireland. He was born in Belfast. His father, Donald English (1930–1998) was a prominent Methodist preacher. He studied as an undergraduate at Keble College, Oxford, and subsequently at Keele University, where he was awarded a PhD in History. He was first employed by the Politics Department at Queen's University Belfast in 1990 and became a professor in 1999. He briefly left Queen's University Belfast for the University of St Andrews, but returned as as Pro-Vice Chancellor for Internationalisation and Engagement in 2016.[1]


Most of his research has been centred on the Irish Republican movement and particularly the history of the Irish Republican Army. His first book, based on his doctoral thesis, concerned the history of post Irish Civil War Republican politics and was titled Radicals and the Republic, Socialist Republicanism in the Irish Free State (1994). His next work was a biography of 1920s IRA veteran Ernie O'Malley, entitled Ernie O'Malley, IRA Intellectual which was published in 1998.

Since then, he has written Armed Struggle - The History of the IRA (2003). This book, predominantly a history of the modern Provisional IRA, won the politics book of the year award from the Political Studies Association and was shortlisted for the Christopher Ewart-Biggs Memorial Prize. After this, he wrote a broader history of Irish nationalism, Irish Freedom, The History of Nationalism in Ireland (2006), which won the Ewart-Biggs Memorial Prize in 2007.[2]

He has also co-edited two volumes: The State: Historical and Political Dimensions (1999, with Charles Townshend); and Rethinking British Decline (1999, with Michael Kenny).

He is a frequent media commentator on terrorism and Irish politics and history, including work for the BBC, NPR, the Times Literary Supplement, Newsweek, and the Financial Times.[3]

In 2009, he published a study of political violence, titled Terrorism: How to Respond.[4]

He taught at the University of St Andrews, Fife[5] until 2016 when he returned to Queen's University Belfast as PVC for Internationalisation and Engagement.

In 2016, he contributed to the documentary film Bobby Sands: 66 Days.


  1. Richard English's page at Queen's University Belfast
  2. Oxford University Press: Terrorism: Richard English
  3. The 'T' word: a review of Richard English's terrorism: how to respond (Oxford University Press 2009) - DORAS - DCU
  4. Richard English

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