Writing

Latest News: My first popular science book, Beasts Before Us: The Untold Story of Mammal Origins and Evolution, is out now! It is a popular science book written for everyone. In it, you will discover the part of the mammal origin story you never get to hear: our most ancient origins in the time of dinosaurs and long before. Described as a ‘beautifully written debut‘ with ‘just the right level of detail and plenty of wit‘, Beasts Before Us reframes the narrative of our origins, and asks what the past can tell us about the future of our world.

Published by Bloomsbury Sigma, you can find it in all good bookshops, or online here, or via other online retailers. Check out #BeastsBeforeUs on twitter.

Buy my new book – you won’t be disappointed!

I write for online and printed publications as a freelance writer. I wrote for The Guardian as part of the Lost Worlds Revisited team; these articles focused on topics in palaeontology and evolution, including new fossils and scientific discoveries, tackling misconceptions, and diversity in science. I’m currently working on my second popular science book, there’ll be more information on that in the coming months!

Guardian example
Read this and other articles here

As well as science, I write prose and poetry (see bottom of page for a sample of poetry). In 2019 I co-edited (alongside writer and poet, Larissa Reid) an anthology about landscape, palaeontology and rocks , Conversations in Stone, inspired by the geologist Hugh Miller and his life. Incorporating the winners of the hugely successful Hugh Miller Writing Competition (see below), the book brings together emerging writers from across the UK with published authors including Robert Macfarlane and Kenny Taylor, historians of Hugh Miller, and palaeontologists working in Scotland (including my own contribution). It is now available to buy online.

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Since 2017 I’ve been a judge for the Hugh Miller Writing Competition. This biannual competition aims to inspire new, original prose and poetry on the theme of Scotland’s geoheritage. It is named for one of Scotland’s most prolific Victorian writers, Hugh Miller (1802-1856). Previous winners have gone on to sign publishing deals with major publishers, and the competition is acknowledged for recognising and supporting rising writing talent.

HughMillerWritingCompsmallMy online articles include Fossil Focus: the first mammals, a primer on mammals in the time of dinosaurs, and features on modern women scientists and historical figures such as Elisabeth Anderson Grey (TrowelBlazers). Printed articles include contributions to Fossil News, and newsletters such as that of the Palaeontological Association and Hugh’s News. Recently my article on the evolution of the first mammals was featured in the magazine, Biological Sciences Review, an educational magazine for schools.

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Picture by Bob Nicholls
Reading of my poem, ‘Free’. Recorded Spring 2020. (c) Elsa Panciroli