The Viney Agency


Robert GoodwinI was born and brought up in London. When I left school I went to Spain and I fell in love with the Spaniards, who always seemed to be laughing or smiling. A few years later, I fled a nascent career in M&A to Madrid and began teaching English to oil and construction executives, but ended up researching a cookery book in a remote Andalusian village. It eventually turned into A Taste of Spain (1994), published by Wayland, which focused on primary school children as the target audience.

I then studied at King’s College London, UCL, SOAS, and Granada and Seville Universities, which has left me with a marked Sevillian accent. The University of London awarded me a PhD for my thesis on Food, Art, and Society in Early Modern Spain (2001), supervised by B.W. Ife.

I regularly publish in peer-reviewed academic journals, present papers at conferences, and teach courses at University College London, where I'm a Research Fellow in the Spanish Department. I divide my time between London and Seville and recently collaborated with scholars at the Indigenous Peoples Law Program at the University of Arizona, Tucson.

Cooking and food are a major hobby, and I enjoy travel, am a keen hiker, and have season-tickets at Stamford Bridge. My first major book, Crossing the Continent 1527-1540; the Story of the First Great African-American Explorer of the American South (HarperCollins US, 2008) was a biography of the first African to live much of his life and to die on what is now U.S. soil.

Spain: The Centre of the World 1519-1682 was published by Bloomsbury on both sides of the Atlantic in 2015. It's a narrative history of the cultural revolution known as the ‘Spanish Golden Age’ taking place at the heart of the vast Spanish empire, and which sets sixteenth and seventeenth-century Spain at the epicentre of the new western world.

His history of Spanish America, América, will be published by Bloomsbury in 2019.


Book: Eleven Eleven by Paul Dowswell
“This is history as it should be but so rarely is. Never, since Richard Cobb's great books on ancien régime France, has an English historian written on the history of a foreign country so much from the inside, with such intense love and flair and intimacy. The result is a gourmet's delight of a book: to be devoured greedily and digested at length and with pleasure” –  David Starkey 

In the sixteenth century, the Spaniards became the first nation in history to have worldwide reach; across most of Europe to the Americas, the Philippines, and India. Goodwin tells the story of Spain and the Spaniards, from great soldiers like the Duke of Alba to literary figures and artists such as El Greco, Velázquez, Cervantes, and Lope de Vega, and the monarchs who ruled over them.

At the beginning of the modern age, Spaniards were caught between the excitement of change and a medieval world of chivalry and religious orthodoxy, they experienced a turbulent existential angst that fueled an exceptional Golden Age, a fluorescence of art, literature, poetry, and which inspired new ideas about International Law, merchant banking, and economic and social theory.

Robert Goodwin’s magisterial work sets sixteenth and seventeenth-century Spain at the epicentre of the new western world.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Spain - The Centre of the World (Bloomsbury, UK & Bloomsbury USA, 2015); Crossing the Continent - The Story of the First Great African-American Explorer of the American South (HarperCollins, USA, 2008).