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Success for non-fiction writer Peter Moore

Alumnus has received widespread acclaim for his book The Weather Experiment

by Ed Grover (Senior Communications Officer)

Peter MoorePeter Moore, author of non-fiction hit The Weather Experiment and a City University London alumnus, will sign copies of his work during an evening of music, art and scientific discussion.

The writer will be joined by classical singer Pierrette Thomet and John Thornes, Professor of Applied Meteorology at the University of Birmingham, for the event on Thursday 25th June.

The Weather Experiment tells the story of the men who set out to discover the secrets of the climate during the 19th century and create the first forecasting systems.

Peter, a 2009 graduate from City’s Creative Writing (Non-Fiction) MA programme, has received widespread acclaim for the book.

I think FitzRoy is a real hero and, today, he’s rightly acknowledged as a rebel and a pioneer - Peter Moore

It was included on the Sunday Times weekly bestsellers list for non-fiction, following its release on 7th May, and was also named BBC Radio 4’s Book of the Week.

Peter, now a Visiting Lecturer at City, says he believes the story’s intriguing central characters have contributed to its success.

“The big character in the book is Robert FitzRoy, who was a colourful, complex character,” he said. “It was a pleasure to be able to write about him.

“He wasn’t just the captain of HMS Beagle, which was the The Weather Experiment Book Coverboat that Charles Darwin used for his famous voyage, but he also founded the Met Office and coined the word ‘forecast’.

“He was a great character to write about and that was reflected in a lot of the reviews.”

During the upcoming event, the panel will discuss the experiments of FitzRoy. There also will be music inspired by weather and the sea, plus an examination of the famous cloud paintings by artist John Constable.

Among the key figures in the book are Luke Howard, the first to classify clouds, Francis Beaufort, who quantified the winds and James Glaisher, who explored the upper atmosphere in a hot air balloon.

The story also features Samuel Morse, whose electric telegraph gave scientists the means by which to transmit weather warnings, alongside Admiral Robert FitzRoy himself, a master sailor and scientific pioneer.

Peter has not only done very well in the UK, but he is also going to be very big in the US - Dr Julie Wheelwright

Despite creating a model that is still used today, the group were deemed failures in an era when religion was used to explain changes weather.

FitzRoy, already a troubled individual, slashed his own throat in 1865. However, just 13 years after his suicide, his system was being used again.

Weather chartPeter said: “I think FitzRoy is a real hero and, today, he’s rightly acknowledged as a rebel and a pioneer.

“But it’s like with a lot of historic figures – he wasn’t recognised until after he had died. It’s a bit like Alun Turing, as they were both hounded during their lifetimes.”

The Weather Experiment has now been published in the US following its success in the UK.

It is Peter’s second book, after the release of Damn His Blood, which he wrote while studying at City among the first ever cohort of students on the non-fiction programme.

“The focus of the course is just on one big project, a 60,000-word manuscript which you need to complete to graduate, and that was immensely important for me,” he said.

“It gives you focus and forces you to finish it. You also get a lot of support along the way. It’s a terrific course and it’s been really successful in the seven years it’s been going.”

Dr Julie Wheelwright, Programme Director of the Creative Writing (Non-Fiction) MA, praised the book’s appeal in the US market.

“Peter has not only done very well in the UK, but he is also going to be very big in the US, which is quite an achievement for a UK writer,” she said.

“It’s pretty amazing he has done that but reflects the quality of his writing and the interest in the subject. We’re all very proud of Peter.”

To sign up for the event, The Weather Experiment: Clouds, Storms and Music, click here.

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