DATE OF BIRTH: June 11 1947
PLACE OF BIRTH: Ottawa, Canada
ARRIVAL IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: 1965
EMPLOYMENT OTHER THAN WRITING: Former Aid professional
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Red the Nile, Blue the Hills (2004) Blue Orange Publishing
Death's Doors (2004) Blue Orange Publishing
The Bush (2003) Blue Orange Publishing
The Borderline: Casebook Translations (2003) Blue Orange Publishing
BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS: Richard Rathwell was born in Ottawa, Canada.
In primary school he was placed for five years in a class subjected to experimental teaching techniques. He attended High School in Oakville Ontario where he won awards for public speaking. His usual theme was utopian absurdity. Teachers found him oppositional.
Richard attended Simon Fraser University for his honours degree where he was twice arrested protesting the nature of the university. Among his teachers were Robin Blaser and Jerry Zaslove. At the University of Victoria his graduate supervisor was Constance Rooke. Richard holds as well a certificate in furniture making from Conestoga College.
In Vancouver, British Columbia Richard was associated with the journal ‘Rage’ and ‘The Partisan’. He was chairman of the Partisan Organisation. Later he was provincial secretary of a national communist organisation and for a brief time its national secretary. During this period he was arrested in Toronto twice and arrested and beaten in custody in Montreal. He was named in parliament by the Solicitor-General as a dangerous person and sought under the war measures act. He was the first Canadian to visit Albania under the Hoxha regime (and the first as well after it fell). Much later he was on the last plane out of Belgrade before the war. He inspected the prison camps after they were opened in Albania. He was never a real terrorist nor a priest but often a scholar.
Following Canada, Richard lived in Ireland and was part of a rural writing collective. He won national awards in Ireland for short story writing and poetry. During this time he also won an award for a restoration project of a Georgian staircase from the EU. He worked as a journalist for the Kilkenny Phoenix and as a castle warden. He left Ireland for Nigeria.
Richard has taught literature in schools in Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Lesotho as well as in Ireland. He was a tutor at Simon Fraser University and University of Victoria. He has won awards for children’s drama productions and writing in Nigeria and Zimbabwe. Richard has been deported from airports in the United States and from Apartheid South Africa while he was teacher and also when he was an aid worker. He later was invited to advise the World Bank. He has been an expert consultant for the World Health Organization, the European Union, and the UN Commission on Trade and Development.
Richard’s main career has been service for extended periods as a country director or executive for Aid organisations. This service took place initially in Nigeria, Lesotho and Egypt. He was the global operational manager for international social development and medical aid organisations, one based in Vienna and one in the United Kingdom. He headed a branch of a humanitarian and rehabilitation organisation in Albania. During all this time he assisted primarily the building of schools and hospitals and the provision of water. Secondarily there was policy and design work. There is a street in Gulu Uganda which may still bear his name, and a tree in India. Richard used funds to restore a museum of mediaeval Icons and a theatre as well as for other arguably non-aid activities. During a period of absolute monarchy in Lesotho Richard was director of the King’s social organisation.
The last day jobs Richard had were as a senior adviser for economic development for the government of the United Kingdom and as the executive director of a celebrity educational charity based in London and programming in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. In the former job he travelled extensively and advised ministers. In the latter job he got disgusted.
Richard’s aid work is the basis of two of his novels. His experiences as an ‘exile’ serve as the basis of some of his other works. He presently resides in London, UK.