Richard Holloway

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Agent: Caroline Dawnay
Assistant: Kat Aitken


Richard Holloway is a former Bishop of Edinburgh and Gresham Professor of Divinity.  Now a writer and broadcaster, he is the author of more than twenty books, including the best-selling Leaving Alexandria.

Latest publication:

LEAVING ALEXANDRIA, Canongate, 1 March 2012
In one of the most remarkable memoirs of recent years, the acclaimed writer, respected thinker and outspoken former bishop Richard Holloway takes us back through a life defined by some of the biggest questions.

Who am I? And what is God?

At the tender age of fourteen, Richard Holloway left his home town of Alexandria in the Vale of Leven, north of Glasgow, and travelled hundreds of miles to be educated and trained for the priesthood by a religious order in an English monastery.  It was an intense cloistered education for an impressionable young man.  By twenty-five he had been ordained and was working in the slums of Glasgow.  Throughout the forty years that followed, Richard touched the lives of many people in the Church and in the wider community.  But behind his confident public face lay a restless, unquiet heart and a constantly searching mind.

How can anyone claim a complete understanding of the mystery of existence?  Why is the Church, which claims to be the instrument of God's love, so prone to cruelty and condemnation?  And how can a man live with the tension between public faith and private doubt?

In his long-awaited memoir, Richard seeks to answer these questions and to explain how, after many crises of faith, he finally and painfully left the Church.  It is a wise, poetic and fiercely honest book.  As a portrait of an inner life plagued by doubt, it is unsurpassed. 

Praise for Leaving Alexandria:

'Richard Holloway's memoir is endlessly vivid and fascinating.  It's the record of a mind too large, too curious and far too generous to be confined within any single religious denomination.  His account of how a passionate, intelligent boy grew out of a poor and deprived background, without ever losing touch with the humane values it gave him, will be a delight and inspiration to believers, non-believers and ex-believers alike.' Philip Pullman

'At a time when the world has urgently needed wise and compassionate leadership, this poignant memoir, written with the integrity, intelligence and wit that we expect from Richard Holloway, lays bare the ludicrous and entirely unnecessary mess we have made of religion.'  Karen Armstrong

'Leaving Alexandria is many things.  It is a compelling account of a journey through life, told with great frankness; it is a subtle reflection of what it means to live in an imperfect and puzzling world; and it is a highly readable insight into one of the most humane and engaged minds of our time.  It is, quite simple, a wonderful book.' Alexander McCall Smith


Publication DetailsNotes


A challenging and heartfelt study of the human capacity for good and evil.



This book discusses significant passages from both the Hebrew and Christian scriptures; and explores the evolution of the split between the two communities whose tragic consequences still reverberate powerfully today.



This book celebrates the possibilities that life affords whilst examining how doubts and fears too often paralyse people, especially as they get older.



This is a discourse on how forgiveness works, where it came from and how the need to embrace it is greater than ever if we are to free ourselves from the binds of the past.



This book is a rescue attempt, an argued case for salvaging the challenge of Jesus by revealing the essence of his teachings and showing why they remain revolutionary, humane and of massive spiritual importance.



This book offers a human-centred justification for contemporary morality.