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Web of Stories offers you the chance to listen to some of the greatest people of our time telling their life stories.

"Systematics and the Origin of the Species"

Ernst Mayr


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How to be a travel writer

Redmond O'Hanlon - Writer

Writing is... takes more energy than anything else, seems to me. You've got to be far more fully engaged than when you're doing anything else, certainly than when you're actually travelling. Not at all sure I want to go through any of that anymore.

[Q] So the writing, not the travelling, is the difficult part?

Oh yes. Anybody can travel, but you have to absolutely imagined back where you were travelling, and feeling things far more powerfully than you did then, otherwise what's the point? That's why I wrote at night. You can't be doing with a knock at the door, and so on. I mean, you're there, seeing the anaconda.

And you plan it, of course, like a novel, before you go. You know what you want your beginning and middle and end to be. But your characters are these bastards: they get up and walk right out of your plot. You can't control anything. And you're ridiculous, deluding yourself, if you think you're actually able to change things happening or stop things happening or... well, especially somewhere like the Congo. Can't be done. But it was wonderful. Incredible, unexpected life. But when I was four years old, I wanted to write. I had a big block of paper and I'd put on it what I thought were letters. The story always ended with this tiger in the garden that nobody else had seen.

Francis Crick - Scientist
Walter Murch - Film-maker
Murray Gell-Mann - Scientist
Oliver Sacks - Scientist