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Five minutes with longlisted author Dave Goulson

Five minutes with longlisted author Dave Goulson


How does it feel to reach the longlist for the Samuel Johnson Prize?

I think it is wonderful that a book on bumblebees has been included. Hopefully it will help draw a little more attention to the importance of these underappreciated little creatures, and of other insects, which make up the bulk of life on Earth. I worry that many folk have become so detached from the natural world that they no longer care about it, or recognize our dependence upon it.

What research did you do for writing your book?

I’ve spent almost my whole life – at least since the age of seven or eight – learning about insects. So I guess it has taken me forty years or so to get this far….

How do you feel about the status/ popularity of non-fiction books in general?

I read a lot of non-fiction, but it does sometimes seem rather under-represented in bookshops.

However, presumably that is simply dictated by demand.

What is your favourite non-fiction book and why?

Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science – very funny, but more importantly it highlights how science and scientists are often badly misrepresented in the media, and hence are often poorly understood by the public and policy makers. Us scientists really need to do a better job of explaining what we do.      

What are you working on next?

A Buzz in the Meadow, which is in some senses a sequel to A Sting in the Tale. It is a celebration of the fascinating, complex lives of insects, focusing on those that live in and around my dilapidated farm in France. I also intend to highlight the perils that wildlife faces in the modern world, and how important it is to ensure that the glorious diversity of life survives.   

Dave Goulson is the author of longlisted book A Sting In The Tale (Jonathan Cape)



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