‘It is among my proudest boasts that I was a massive Rundell fan before she became a national treasure.’ – Dan Snow
Katherine Rundell is fast becoming one of the great writers and storytellers of our age. Already a successful children’s author, she has now turned her attention to the natural world and with her customary charm, wit and panache she asks us to look at the living things around us and to wonder. In her new book The Golden Mole: and Other Living Treasure she has created a glorious menagerie of the world’s most extraordinary and vulnerable animals. A swift flies two million kilometres in its lifetime, enough to get to the moon and back twice over – and then once more to the moon. A pangolin’s tongue is longer than its body; it keeps it furled in a pouch by its hip. A Greenland shark can live five hundred years. A wombat once inspired a love poem. Every species in the book is endangered, or contains a subspecies which is endangered, because of the destruction that we humans have wreaked on their ecosystems.
In December 2022 Rundell came to Intelligence Squared, where she was in conversation with environmental historian and broadcaster Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough. She urged us to look at and to love the beauty of our world, its fragility, and its strangeness. For, as she put it, ‘love, allied to attention, will be urgently needed in the years to come.’