Returning to Edinburgh

I’m delighted to say that after the upheaval from Hurricane Isaac, and a few other tasks besides, I’ve returned to Edinburgh for the next month to finish up work at IASH. For those in the Edinburgh area, the Institute maintains an ongoing bulletin board of events in and around the university, a list which rarely receives the patronage it deserves — there is always, always something interesting to be found.

As WordPress seems to be acting up, the list is available here:

http://www.iash.ed.ac.uk/bullbrd.html

E.O. Wilson and Alex Harris at Tulane

For those in the New Orleans area, E.O. Wilson and Alex Harris will be speaking Monday night at Tulane about their new book, Why We Are Here: Mobile and the Spirit of a Southern City. A Studio in the Woods is hosting the evening; more details are available here.

According to the book’s description,

From this historic collaboration between a beloved naturalist and a great American photographer emerges a South we’ve never encountered before. Entranced by Edward O. Wilson’s mesmerizing evocation of his Southern childhood in The Naturalist and Anthill, Alex Harris approached the scientist about collaborating on a book about Wilson’s native world of Mobile, Alabama. Perceiving that Mobile was a city small enough to be captured through a lens yet old enough to have experienced a full epic cycle of tragedy and rebirth, the photographer and the naturalist joined forces to capture the rhythms of this storied Alabama Gulf region through a swirling tango of lyrical words and breathtaking images. With Wilson tracing his family’s history from the Civil War through the Depression—when mule-driven wagons still clogged the roads—to Mobile’s racial and environmental struggles to its cultural triumphs today, and with Harris stunningly capturing the mood of a radically transformed city that has adapted to the twenty-first century, the book becomes a universal story, one that tells us where we all come from and why we are here.

The reading starts at 7.30pm in Dixon Hall.

The Book of Barely Imagined Beings

I’m delighted to say that good friend Caspar Henderson’s Book of Barely Imagined Beings, an account of some of the most extraordinary creatures in nature, is finally being published this week by Granta Books. Having known and adored the book since it was in manuscript form, and having heard Caspar present the finished version this summer at the Wilderness Festival, I can honestly say it is one of the most beautiful and necessary books on natural history to be published in recent years. Warm, lucid, scholarly, yet overflowing with mystery and wonder: it cannot be savored long or often enough. An early review from Stuart Kelly in the Scotsman is available here: congratulations to Caspar and to everyone who had a hand in this wonderful work.