Paddy Woodworth Biography

Paddy Woodworth (Bray, Ireland, 1951) is an author, journalist, lecturer, editor and specialist tour guide.

He is best known for his two books on the Basque Country, and especially for his most recent book, Our Once and Future Planet: Restoring the World in the Climate Change Strategy, a worldwide assessment of ecological restoration as a conservation strategy.

He was on staff at The Irish Times, as arts editor and then as a foreign desk editor, from 1988-2002, and has written on Basque and Spanish affairs for that paper and other media since 1979. He also has strong links with the arts in Ireland, having managed both the Project Arts Centre under Jim Sheridan (1977-78) and Field Day Theatre Company for Brian Friel and Stephen Rea (1980).

He has also written for the International Herald Tribune, Vanity Fair, The Scientist, The Sunday Times, Ecological Restoration, The World Policy Journal and BBC Wildlife. He broadcasts for RTE, the BBC, US and other international radio and TV networks.

Our Once and Future Planet (University of Chicago Press, October 2013), is described as “outstanding” by the renowned biologist Daniel Janzen, and as “a great piece of investigative journalism…on a topic vital to the future of people and biodiversity on earth” by Stephen Hopper, former director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

His first book on the Basque Country, Dirty War, Clean Hands: ETA, the GAL, and Spanish Democracy, (Yale UP 2003) was described by Franco biographer Paul Preston as “one of the most important books about post-Franco Spain ever published”.

His second book, The Basque Country: A Cultural History (Oxford UP 2008) is a series of essays on the region, ranging from gastronomy to the Guggenheim museum, from folk rituals to political violence. The Financial Times described the book as “shrewd and affectionate…full of gems…a good eye for architecture and topography…a splendid portrait of a bewitching land.”

Woodworth has lectured widely in the US (including Harvard, Dartmouth, Carleton, DePaul, Georgetown, Madison-Wisconsin, Mount Holyoke, Lehigh, NYU, Wagner, the University of Nevada and the Carnegie Round Table on Foreign Affairs), Ireland (UCD, UCC, DCU, RDS) and Britain (London School of Economics, Cambridge University, Canning House). He has contributed to a number of think tanks and other forums, including the Liberty Fund, the Fundación Sabino Arana, the Kate O’Brien Weekend, and Basque Global Initiatives. He has been a member of the European Cultural Parliament since 2008.

He has been a visiting Fellow on the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa (2003), and at the Dickey Center for International Understanding, Dartmouth College (2008).

Since 2008, he has worked as a specialist cultural guide for visitors to the Basque Country, in partnership with Jon Warren of San Sebastian Food, developing the Discovering the Basque Country tour series. He also works as a cultural and environmental guide in Ireland, most recently with DePaul University and Georgia College and State University. Tom Blinkhorn, leader on the most recent Woodworth/SSF Basque tour, for Dartmouth College ILEAD, wrote of Woodworth’s work:

“A spectacular performance...Your command of the history, language, architecture, landscapes, historic sites and heritage was absolutely stunning. I learned a lot about this extraordinary place as did everyone on the tour.”

He also works as an editor for scientists who wish to reach a wide public readership. Kingsley Dixon, Director of Science at King’s Park and Botanic Garden, Perth, Australia writes:

“Paddy is an outstanding editor. I find he has provided superb editorial support on a number of projects, some of a deep scientific nature and others for more general readers. He has a keen eye for detail and is across a number of areas in considerable depth including the ecological and restoration sciences. I have found working with him to be a delightful experience as he is both patient and considered in his editorial and writing support while never compromising on quality.” 

Paddy Woodworth Biography