Christopher Lloyd (world history author)
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|Christopher Lloyd (world history author)|
1 April 1968
Dorking, Surrey, UK
|Alma mater||Cambridge University Peterhouse|
|Genre||Non-fiction, history, science, children's|
Christopher Lloyd (born 1 April 1968) is a historian, educationalist and author, best known for his sweeping narratives on big history (the history of the world). He is the author of the best selling book What on Earth Happened: The Complete Story of the Planet (Bloomsbury, 2008), which has sold 500,000 copies. Lloyd is a keen advocate of connected learning. In collaboration with Beckenham-based illustrator Andy Forshaw, Lloyd has established a format for telling giant narratives to young people by using illustrative timelines called Wallbooks, which present a broader view of world history and visualise connections between the past and the present day.
Lloyd is regularly invited to give talks at schools, literary festivals, universities, societies, museums, businesses and institutes on a variety of topics including cross-curricular integration, narrative journeys around each of his books as well as motivational lectures. He gave a TEDx conference lecture at Reading University in early 2015.
Family life and education
Lloyd was born and spent his early years in Dorking, Surrey with his parents, 2 brothers and 2 sisters until the age of 6 when the family moved to Effingham. His father, Angus Lloyd was an art dealer and one of the co-founders of Henri Lloyd Clothing along with Henri Strzelecki MBE. His mother, Wanda, dedicated her time to bringing up Lloyd and his 4 siblings.
Lloyd’s great uncle was the famous English gardener and prolific author Christopher Lloyd (gardener), OBE of Great Dixter. His great grandfather was Nathaniel Lloyd, an architect, printer and author who wrote several classic text books including The History of the English House and The History of British Brickworks. It was he who hired Edwin Lutyens, the celebrated architect, to renovate and extend the gardens at Dixter, later renamed Great Dixter.
As Lloyd grew up, his great uncle became an inspiration to him. It was on his death in 2006 that Lloyd decided to continue the tradition that his uncle had started, by writing one book every year.
Lloyd attended Wellesley House School in Broadstairs followed by Charterhouse. He was awarded two scholarships: Lady Ward History Scholarship and an Exhibition Scholarship, which enabled him to take up his place at Peterhouse, Cambridge University, to study history. He graduated with a double first in 1990. Lloyd’s Director of Studies at Cambridge University was Maurice Cowling who was also Michael Portillo’s mentor.
Upon completing his degree, Lloyd was engaged as a researcher by Sir Peregrine Worsthorne, ex-Sunday Telegraph Editor and journalist, to help him write his memoir Tricks of Memory: An Autobiography, which was published in 1993.
Life and career
Lloyd joined News International in 1991 as a graduate trainee journalist on The Sunday Times newspaper. In 1993 he was appointed Innovations Editor and Technology Correspondent in quick succession. He won the 1994 Texaco award for Science Journalist of the Year.
In 1996 Lloyd became the paper’s Internet Editor and was responsible for launching the first internet edition of The Times and The Sunday Times. He co-founded the internet service provider LineOne, a joint internet venture between BT Group, United News & Media and News International, which is now Talk Talk.
In 2000 Lloyd left News International to take up a position as Chief Executive of Immersive Education, an education software publishing company based in Oxford. He grew the company from its R&D phase, with zero revenue, to sales of in excess of ₤3 million. Whilst at Immersive Education Lloyd launched Ka2ouche story boarding education software, which was the original spark for the creation of the illustrated timeline in Lloyd’s books today. It was in his role at Immersive Education that Lloyd began to realise the true impact that classroom resources have on a child’s ability to learn.
Lloyd left Immersive Education in 2006 to spend time travelling around Europe with his wife and two children, both of whom were home-educated, before setting up What on Earth Publishing in 2010.
Home educator to writer
Lloyd lives in rural Kent, near Tonbridge, with his wife Virginia and their two children Matilda and Verity. The decision to home educate both girls was made when, at the age of 7, the eldest complained that she was bored at school. Recognising that their daughter had become disengaged with the teaching methods used in the school, Lloyd and his wife developed a variety of creative learning techniques to re-engage and re-ignite their daughter’s natural curiosity. So successful was their approach that Matilda not only rediscovered her thirst for knowledge, she followed in her father’s footsteps by accepting a place at Cambridge University.
In 2006 Lloyd took a 4-month sabbatical to take his family on a tour of Europe, travelling by campervan. Whilst visiting historical sites and teaching his daughters, Lloyd realised, despite having a double first from Cambridge University, he did not know basic information about the world and that the fragments he knew did not connect to give a complete picture of history - either natural or human. It was at this point that Lloyd had the inspiration for his first book: A Brief History of Absolutely Everything, later renamed What on Earth Happened? The Complete Story of the Planet, Life and People from the Big Bang to the Present Day, which combines both the natural and human history of the world in a single 42 chapter narrative.
In 2010, wanting to publish a children's version of What on Earth happened, Lloyd teamed up with illustrator Andy Forshaw to pioneer a new format for big history storytelling that would feature a giant illustrated visual timeline that could be pulled-out and displayed on a wall, as well as read like a book. The Wallbooks were designed to give young people an integrated view of the world by contextualising knowledge through connections. Lloyd describes it as reviving the traditional art of telling stories through highly illustrated and intricate timelines such as the Codex Zouche-Nuttall and the Bayeaux Tapestry.
Lectures and workshops
Lloyd lectures and conducts workshops about cross-curricular integration and motivational reward pathways to schools, teachers, home education groups, literary festivals, businesses, societies, museums, clubs and universities both in the UK and abroad.
Lloyd’s signature talks incorporate the use of a coat of many pockets, each pocket containing an everyday object representing a moment in the Wallbook timeline. The idea is a bid to revive the ancient itinerant storytelling traditions and the concept of using objects as memory devices. Lloyd describes it as a throwback to the rhetorical traditions pioneered in Ancient Greece.
Lloyd is a regular feature at Hay Festival, Chalke Valley Festival, Bath Literature Festival, Cheltenham Festival, Oxford Literary Festival, Woodstock Festival, Marlborough Literature Festival and Henley Literary Festival. Overseas appearances include the Asahi Environmental Forum 2013, Jaipur International Book Festival, Gibraltar Literary Festival, PINC Sarasota and PINC Amsterdam.
Lloyd has also given talks at the Natural History Museum, Science Museum, The Daiwa Foundation, Institute of Mechanical Engineers, Linnaean Society of London, The Royal Institution, The Royal Geographical Society (Christmas lecture 2013) and Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.
Lloyd set up the What on Earth Foundation, a grant-making registered charity (registered number 1153814), established specifically to help schools, teachers and educational groups gain access to a more creative, curiosity-led approach to teaching and learning. In conjunction with Pratham Books, a not-for-profit publisher, which aims to ensure that every child in India owns a book, Lloyd arranged for the What on Earth? Wallbook of Big History to be translated into Hindi and made available as part of Pratham Books initiative.
List of works
Lloyd has sold over 1 million books, 500,000 of which are What on Earth Happened?, which has now been translated into 15 languages and serialised into an 18 part series by TV Tokyo.
- What on Earth Happened?: The Complete Story of the Planet, Life and People from the Big Bang to the Present Day (Bloomsbury, first edition 2008, second edition 2012)
- What on Earth Happened? in Brief: The Planet, Life and People from the Big Bang to the Present Day (Bloomsbury, 2009)
- What on Earth Evolved?: 100 Species That Changed the World (Bloomsbury, 2009)
- What on Earth Evolved? in Brief: 100 Species That Have Changed the World (Bloomsbury, 2010)
- The Magna Carta Chronicle: A Young Person's Guide to 800 Years in the Fight for Freedom in partnership with the Magna Carta Trust (What on Earth Publishing, 2015)
Wallbooks –in various formats including Stickerbook, Quizbook and Posterbook.
- The What on Earth? Wallbook Timeline of Big History (What on Earth Publishing, first edition 2010, second edition 2015)
- The What on Earth? Wallbook Timeline of Natural History (What on Earth Publishing, first edition 2011, second edition 2015)
- The What on Earth? Wallbook Timeline of Sport (What on Earth Publishing, first edition 2012, second edition 2015)
- The What on Earth? Wallbook Timeline of Science & Engineering (What on Earth Publishing, first edition 2013, second edition 2015)
- The What on Earth? Wallbook Timeline of Shakespeare (What on Earth Publishing, first edition 2014, 2nd edition 2015)
- The What on Earth? Wallbook Timeline of the History of Britain (What on Earth Publishing, first edition 2016)
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 13 October 2014. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 October 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2015.