Alun Howkins is Professor Emeritus in Social History at the University of Sussex. He left school at 15 and worked at a variety of manual and white collar jobs before going to Ruskin College, a trade-union college for adult students in 1968.
He went from there to Oxford, where he read History and to Essex where he completed his PhD. He has written on a wide range of subjects from the paintings of Turner to the politics of the 1930s Communist Party. However his central commitment has always been and remains the history of the rural areas and especially the rural poor.
His books include The Death of Rural England: A Social History of the Countryside since 1900 (Routledge 2003). He is also an Honorary Professor at the University of East Anglia.