After studying Psychology and Philosophy at Oxford University, David Barrie served in the Diplomatic Service and the Cabinet Office. He was closely involved in the negotiations that culminated in the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985. In 1989 he was appointed as Director of The Japan Festival 1991, a nationwide celebration of Japanese culture, and then served as Director of the National Art Collections Fund (now the Art Fund) from 1992 until 2009. David has also been active in the field of criminal justice reform as Chair of the campaigning organisation Make Justice Work (2010 – 2013). He was awarded a CBE for services to the arts in 2010.
David is a dedicated sailor and has made many long passages under sail. He is also a keen lepidopterist and a devotee of the work of John Ruskin. His abridged edition of Ruskin’s five-volume work, Modern Painters, was first published in 1987. He has served as a trustee of many organisations, including Butterfly Conservation, the Ruskin Foundation and the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. He is a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation.
His SEXTANT, a beautifully written short account of the art of celestial navigation, was published by HarperPress and William Morrow in 2014 and received excellent reviews. Translations have also been published by Rizzoli in Italy and Mare in Germany. It was shortlisted for the Mountbatten Literary Prize. David is now working on his latest book, provisionally entitled INCREDIBLE JOURNEYS: Exploring the Science of Animal Navigation which has been acquired by Hodder and Stoughton in the UK and The Experiment in the US.
David Barrie was brought up in Lymington, Hampshire, where he first learnt to sail. He lives in London and Emsworth.