Press Releases 2014-2015

Hay Lecture Explores Relationship Between Humans and Nature


The relationship between mankind and nature will be explored at the Hay Literary Festival this Thursday (29 May) as nature writer, critic and author Richard Kerridge gives the 2014 INSPIRE Lecture.

The annual Institute for Sustainable Practice, Innovation and Resource Effectiveness (INPSIRE) Lecture is organised by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment, UK & Ireland (ASLE-UK). This year’s lecture takes place at the Hay Festival on Thursday 29 May, starting at 8pm on the Good Energy Stage. The event is ticketed but free to attend. For tickets visit

As a boy, Richard Kerridge loved to encounter wild creatures and catch them for his back-garden zoo. In a country without many large animals, newts caught his attention first of all, as the nearest he could get to the African wildlife he watched on television. There were Smooth Newts, mottled like the fighter planes in the comics he read, and the longed-for Great Crested Newt, with its huge golden eye.

The gardens of Richard and his reptile-crazed friends filled up with old bath tubs containing lizards, toads, Marsh Frogs, newts, Grass Snakes and, once, an Adder. Besides capturing them, he wanted to understand them. What might it be like to be cold blooded, to sleep through the winter, to shed your skin and taste wafting chemicals on your tongue? Richard has continued to ask these questions during a lifetime of fascinated study.

His book Cold Blood is part natural-history guide to these animals, part passionate nature writing, and part personal story. It is an original and perceptive memoir about humans and their relationship with nature. Through close observation, it shows how even the suburbs can seem wild when we get close to these thrilling, weird and uncanny animals.

The lecture is followed by a discussion with the 2013 INSPIRE lecturers, Dr Jayne Archer and Prof Richard Marggraff Turley, and the chair of ASLE-UKI, Adeline Johns-Putra, chaired by the director of INSPIRE, Jane Davidson

Jane Davidson, Director of INSPIRE, said: “We are delighted to be running this lecture for a second 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, added: “Literary scholarship can contribute to the sustainability agenda in all sorts of ways, from revealing historical attitudes to sustainable living to understanding the many definitions and connotations of the word sustainability itself.”

Last year’s lecture, delivered by Dr Jayne Elisabeth Archer, Professor Richard Marggraf Turley and Professor Howard Thomas, examined the works of William Shakespeare through a sustainability lens. Led by literary scholar Dr Jayne Archer, the lecture showed how issues of food in Shakespeare’s day – its availability, its scarcity, and questions about who controlled food supplies – were crucial to both the playwright himself and to his plays.

Note to Editor

  1. The University of Wales Trinity Saint David was established in 2010 through the merger of the University of Wales Lampeter and Trinity University College, Carmarthen. On 1 August 2013 the Swansea Metropolitan University merged with the University.
  2. The University’s Royal Charter 1828 is the oldest in Wales, and it is third behind Oxford and Cambridge in Wales and England. HRH Prince of Wales is the Patron of the University.

Further Information

Steven Stokes
Senior PR and Communications Officer
07872 423788