About the Author

Image of journalist and author Robert Carmichael

Author photo by Anna Clare Spelman

Robert Carmichael has worked as a journalist in Cambodia for eight years. During that time his work has been broadcast by or appeared in numerous outlets including Voice of America, Radio Australia, the BBC and Foreign Policy.

From 2001-03 he was the managing editor of the Phnom Penh Post, Cambodia’s oldest English-language newspaper. He left Cambodia in 2003, and returned in 2009 to cover the trial of Comrade Duch, the former head of the Khmer Rouge’s torture centre S-21.

Carmichael came back to try and understand better the causes and consequences of Pol Pot’s 1975-79 rule that cost the lives of two million people.

From 2009-13 he worked as the Cambodia correspondent for the German Press Agency dpa. He has also reported extensively for print, radio and television outlets on subjects as varied as the Khmer Rouge tribunal, reconciliation, development, the environment, education, economics, politics and health.

When Clouds Fell from the Sky is his first book.

Carmichael was born in South Africa in 1969, and grew up in that country at a time of significant social and political upheaval. After studying commerce at the University of Cape Town he moved in 1991 to the United Kingdom where, based in London, he worked in banking and also travelled extensively in Asia, Africa and Australia. In 1999 he quit commerce and went into journalism.

During his time in Cambodia he has collaborated with Magnum photographer John Vink on several works including Quest for Land, an iPad app that examines land-grabbing, one of the country’s most pressing issues. The New York Times praised Carmichael’s 21,000-word series of articles accompanying Vink’s images as “an intelligent and thorough text … that enhances the images with context and analysis and that also amounts to a primer on modern-day Cambodia”. In 2012, Sweden’s The Digital Photobook rated the app as one of the best digital photo books of the year.

Carmichael lives in Phnom Penh.


To see his Amazon author page, please click here.

To see his journalism work, please go to his journalism website here. His website contains numerous articles relating to the Khmer Rouge tribunal and to Cambodia’s efforts to recover from that time – you can read an article on the need for reconciliation here, for instance; you can watch a TV story for Voice of America on the unveiling of a controversial memorial at S-21 prison here; or you can listen to a BBC radio piece on one of the few survivors of Comrade Duch’s jungle prison here. (Please note that if you use Google Chrome, you will not be able to see the audio file – you will need to view the in Firefox or Safari.)


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