2009, the year of Darwin

Along with about a million other people in the UK and throughout the world, I’m gearing up for a very busy, Darwin-filled year. Many people have already commented on how they were sick of Darwin before 2009 even began, but not me.

In case you haven’t heard, 2009 is the 200th anniversary celebrating the birth of Charles Darwin. He was born on 12th February. 2009 is also the 150th anniversary of the publication of his most famous book, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. I’ve read it. Have you? 


The BBC has a great programme planned around Darwin and biology to inform and inspire. Cambridge is hosting what is probably the most intellectually-packed, worthy of name-dropping festival, called ‘Darwin 2009.’ Pretty much every museum, science-related or education-related organization will hold events. Below I post a list of what little ol’ me will be doing (so far) for 2009.

I should probably note that I’ve got a number of other projects in the works, of which I will speak once they are confirmed. This includes two new projects (one poetry-related and one fiction-related), so I promise I won’t be going on about Darwin’s Microscope forever…

19th January: I turn 24! Ok, this isn’t really book-related, but it’s exciting. And it is related because I set a personal goal to get published by the time I turned 25. Time for some new goals…

February: Darwin’s Microscope comes out! This, of course, is very important, as most of my other activities for 2009 relate to the book. I don’t know the exact date yet but it needs to be early in the month.

11th Feb: I will be at in the Aberdeen branch of Waterstone’s at the Cafe Scientifique, reading from the book and speaking about how it came to be.

12th Feb: I will be at the Aberdeen Zoology Museum, parked in front in the Reading Bus for a special Darwin Day event. I will read some poems and work with groups of school children to discuss museum objects including a platypus, some skeletons, and seashells, and encourage the students to write some science-inspired poetry of their own. Happy Birthday, Charles Darwin! I hear we may even have birthday cake…

25th Feb: The official book launch of Darwin’s Microscope, published by Flambard Press. My friend, Dr. Melanie Keene, who co-organizes the Cambridge Science and Literature Reading Group, will introduce the book. There will be wine, and the setting is the fabulous Victorian Grant Museum of Zoology, University College London– housed in the very London home of Charles Darwin himself!


The famous sketch Darwin drew regarding evolutionary branches

The famous sketch Darwin drew regarding evolutionary branches



9th March: Reading from Darwin’s Microscope after a talk by Cambridge academic Boris Jardine about his work on Darwin’s actual microscopes. Hosted by the Science and Literature Reading Group.  In the Lloyd Room, Christ’s College, Cambridge, 7:30pm.

18th March: Reading from Darwin’s Microscope at the Scottish Poetry Library.

27th-29th March: Presenting a paper on Cetology in Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick at the British Society for Literature and Science conference at the University of Reading, as well as promoting DM.

6th-10th April: Visiting my alma mater, Randolph College in VA, to speak in classes, give a reading from DM, (the night of the 8th) and speak on an alumnae panel. 

15th-17th May: Read from DM at the Aberdeen Word Festival.

6th-10th July: Read from DM at The Darwin 200 Festival, Cambridge.

5th November: Speak at the Linnean Society, London, 5:30pm.

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