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Tim Robinson was brought up in Yorkshire. He studied at Cambridge University and worked as a teacher and artist in Istanbul, Vienna, and London. In 1972 he moved to the Aran Islands, where he gained fame as a mapmaker. He learned Gaelic and began preserving Irish place-names, winning respect as an environmentalist and a Ford European Conversation Award. Stones of Aran: Pilgrimage, published in 1985, won the Irish Book Award Literature Medal and a Rooney Prize Special Award for Literature in 1987. His other books include Stones of Aran: Labyrinth, Setting Foot on the Shores of Connemara, and My Time in Space.
Robert Macfarlane's Mountains of the Mind (2003), about wilderness and the Western imagination, won the Somerset Maugham Award and the Guardian First Book Award, among other prizes.