Tag Archive: Linnean Society

Photo courtesy of http://www.linnean.org

Hello lovely writers, readers, and partners in crime. Happy 2011! I’ve been in the States for quite a while and am at present diving back into London and all the wonders it has to offer. Research is on my mind & I am especially loving the libraries here.


Last week I spent the morning in the beautiful Linnean Society Library, and was the only one in there. It was pure bliss (though a little chilly). I also returned to one of my favourite libraries in London, the Wellcome Library, (where the water bubblers attack the unsuspecting) and tomorrow I plan to go to the Poetry Library.
Each of these libraries holds books & materials relevant to projects I’m working on. My writing ‘projects’ are potential books that are a bit too early for me to feel comfortable calling books – and they also sometimes involve plans for genre-flexing, so ‘book’ might be too simple a name.
For example, I’m working on a project which takes me to the Wellcome Library to read about anatomical wax models, dissection, various specific ways for one to die, art, obsession, gluttony, and sex. (Did I mention this is enormous fun?) This potentially could be a verse novel – (I’m writing it with a full narrative arc) – and/or a poetry play (I’m writing it for four voices).
Another project I’m working on, which brings me to the Linnean Society library, and, soon, the Natural History Museum libraries, is on the admission of the first Female Fellows into the Linnean Society, which happened on 19 January 1905 (my birthday is on 19 January! I just think that’s cool).
So my writers, go forth and make the most of these London Libraries. I’ve hardly scratched the surface. I hardly need to say that the British Library is actually heaven. And all of these are, of course, free, and most welcoming if you are polite and professional – and especially if you’re working on a book…

Linnean Society Induction

On Thursday 18 March I was inducted as a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London.

Signing The Book.

Dani joined me and we listened to an interesting but lengthy talk on siphonophores by Dr. Gill Mapstone. You can see the first slide in Dr. Mapstone’s talk in the background.

Also in the photo is the Linnean Society’s delightful President, Dr. Vaughan Southgate, wearing the historic tricorn hat which must be worn whilst inducting Fellows – he always needs to be reminded to put the hat on, and it always raises a chuckle from those in attendance.

Just out of the photo to my right is the famous portrait of Charles Darwin by John Collier. I wore a butterfly-laden scarf bought specially for the occassion, and afterwards Dani and I enjoyed a very spicy Malaysain dinner in Soho.

Linnean Society - appropriate scarf.

Linnean Society Fellowship

Linnean Society Fellowship certificate

It is a great pleasure to confirm my election as a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London.

I have not yet been inducted, but will be at one of the upcoming meetings of the Society.

Since speaking at the Linnean Society on 5th November 2009, and being heartily welcomed into the delightful social and intellectual atmosphere of the LinSoc’s pre-lecture teas and post-lecture wine receptions, I have done my best to attend other lectures at Burlington House.

The talk on 21st January 2010, on the Scottish Beaver Trials, was not only memorable for the interesting information regarding the Trials, but because my name, among a number of others, was up for election, and most interestingly, I had a delightful chat with a lady whom I was certain I had met before.

I recognized her at the pre-talk tea reception and wanted to speak to her but didn’t have the opportunity, so was delighted when she happened to sit beside me as people settled for the talk.

LinSoc badge.

‘Have we met before? You look so familiar,’ I said, ‘maybe we’ve spoken here before?’

The lady wasn’t sure if we’d met before either, but was very friendly and introduced herself– ‘I’m Janet Browne.’

Oh! The foremost biographer of Charles Darwin. Right.

We decided that either we had met before, quite possibly at the Cambridge Darwin Festival in the summer of 2009, or that I simply recognized her because, well…she’s a very recognizable person when you’ve been studying Darwin!

Then she said she recognized my name in association with my activities at Cambridge! That was indeed a surprise and a pleasure.

As we settled in to hear the talk, she nudged me and pointed up at the original, now restored portrait of Darwin, and the one of Wallace beside him, hanging just on the wall above us.

‘There are our guys,’ she said.


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