Press Releases 2014-2015

Complex Human and Animal Relationships Explored at UWTSD Hay Lecture


The complex dynamic relationships between humans and animals was explored at the Hay Literary Festival this year as academic and novelist Dr Hayden Gabriel presented her work at the sold-out 2015 INSPIRE Lecture.

The annual Institute for Sustainable Practice, Innovation and Resource Effectiveness (INPSIRE) Lecture is organised by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) and the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment, UK & Ireland (ASLE-UK). This year’s lecture took place at the Hay Festival on Thursday 28 May.

For details of the lecture please visit

The INSPIRE lecture is competition-based and is run by UWTSD. The judging panel invited submissions that explore how literature, in any of its forms, responds to and is shaped by our contact with other creatures in debates around sustainability.

Dr Hayden Gabriel was chosen as the 2015 winner. Her paper, 'Animal Lives, Binary Opposition, and Barbara Kingsolver’s 'Prodigal Summer'’, was selected by academics from UWTSD, the University of Sheffield and ASLE-UKI, who were “unanimous in their decision”.

Dr Gabriel is a novelist and also Programme Leader for Creative Writing and English Literature at the University of St Mark and St John, Plymouth. Her practice-led research focuses on representations of nature, exploration of 'ecocentric' fiction and the application and development of theoretical frameworks that can be applied to such fiction.

Environmental crisis entails profound and often catastrophic changes to animal habitats as well as to human lives. Dr Gabriel’s lecture explored the complex and dynamic relationships between humans and animals in both the lecturer’s own work and Kingsolver’s bestselling novel.

The lecture was followed by a discussion between Dr Gabriel and INSPIRE’S Director Jane Davidson.

Jane Davidson, also an Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor at UWTSD, said: “We are delighted to be running this lecture for a third year. Getting sustainability right is not just about politics or environmental science, it is also a matter of communication and culture.”

Dr Adeline Johns-Putra, Chair of ASLE-UKI, said: “We are pleased once more to support the annual Hay Festival Lecture on Literature and Sustainability. We're especially delighted to provide a platform for Hayden's eloquent and intelligent analysis of literary representations of human-animal relationships and the way these might inspire and influence sustainable thinking."

Further Information

Steven Stokes
Principal Corporate Communications and PR Officer
07872 423788