Biographer Richard Holmes was born in London, England on 5 November 1945 and educated at Downside School and Churchill College, Cambridge. His first book, Shelley:The Pursuit, was published in 1974 and won a Somerset Maugham Award. The first volume of his biography of the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Coleridge: Early Visions, was published in 1989 and won the Whitbread Book of the Year award. Dr Johnson & Mr Savage (1993), an account of Johnson's undocumented friendship with the notorious poet Richard Savage, won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize (for biography) in 1993. The second volume of his study of Coleridge, Coleridge: Darker Reflections, was published in 1998. It won the Duff Cooper Prize, the Heinemann Award and was shortlisted for the first Samuel Johnson Prize awarded in 1999. Richard Holmes writes and reviews regularly for various journals and newspapers, including the New York Review of Books. His most recent book, Sidetracks: Explorations of a Romantic Biographer (2000), continues the exploration of his own highly original biographical method that he first wrote about in Footsteps: Adventures of a Romantic Biographer (1985). He is also editor of a new series of editions of classic English biographies that includes work by Samuel Johnson, Daniel Defoe and William Godwin. His latest book, The Age of Wonder (2008), is an examination of the life and work of the scientists of the Romantic age who laid the foundations of modern science. It was shortlisted for the 2009 Samuel Johnson Prize.He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a Fellow of the British Academy and was awarded an OBE in 1992. He was awarded an honorary Litt.D. in 2000 by the University of East Anglia, where he was appointed Professor of Biographical Studies in September 2001.