Centre Director Alison Bashford’s latest book, An Intimate History of Evolution: The story of the Huxley family has won the 2023 Mark & Evette Moran Nib Literary Award.
The Mark & Evette Moran Nib Literary Award recognises works that combine excellence in research, literary merit, readability and value to the community, and is presented by the Waverley Council. You can read more about the awards, and view the full long and short lists here.
An Intimate History of Evolution tells the story of the Huxleys: the Victorian natural historian T H Huxley, and his grandson, the scientist, conservationist, and zoologist Julian Huxley. Between them, the Huxleys communicated to the world the story of the theory of evolution by natural selection. It is published by University of Chicago Press & Allen Lane, and is available for purchase here.
The 2023 Mark & Evette Moran Nib Literary Award was announced at the Bondi Pavilion on the 9th November 2023. Photos courtesy of Waverley Council.
Professor Alison Bashford’s book The Huxleys: An Intimate History of Evolution (Allen Lane/University of Chicago Press) has been longlisted for two awards: the 2023 Cundill History Prize and the 2023 Mark and Evette Moran Nib Literary Award, and shortlisted for the British Society for the History of Science’s 2023 Hughes Prize.
Bashford’s book charts 200 years of modern science and culture through the Huxley family.
The respective long and short lists for these awards are available by following the links below:
Laureate Centre Director, Professor Alison Bashford, has just launched her latest book, An Intimate History of Evolution:The Story of the Huxley Family.
Out with Allen Lane, this work charts 200 years of modern science and culture through the family history of the Huxley family.
“Full of surprises on every page, this book makes you wonder why all history can’t have the engaging intimacy of a novel. Bashford brilliantly marries intellectual history with the story of four generations of a great family in a literary tour de force.”
PROFESSOR JIM SECORD, AUTHOR OF VISIONS OF SCIENCE
About the book:
In his early twenties, poor, racked with depression, stranded in the Coral Sea on the seemingly endless survey mission of HMS Rattlesnake, hopelessly in love with the young Englishwoman Henrietta Heathorn, Thomas Henry Huxley was a nobody. And yet together he and Henrietta would return to London and go on to found one of the great intellectual and scientific dynasties of their age.
The Huxley family through four generations profoundly shaped how we all see ourselves. In innumerable fields observing both nature and culture, they worked as scientists, novelists, mystics, film-makers, poets and – perhaps above all – as public lecturers, educators and explainers.
Their speciality was evolution in all its forms – at the grandest level of species, deep time, the Earth, and at the most personal and intimate. They shaped great organizations – the Natural History Museum, Imperial College, the London Zoo, UNESCO, the World Wildlife Fund – and they shaped fundamentally how we see ourselves, as individuals and as a species, one among many.
But perhaps their greatest subject was themselves. Alison Bashford’s marvellously engaging and original new book interweaves the Huxleys’ momentous public achievements with their private triumphs and tragedies. The result is the history of a family, but also a history of humanity grappling with its place in nature. This book shows how much we owe – for better or worse – to the unceasing curiosity, self-absorption and enthusiasms of a small, strange group of men and women.