Speakers / artists
Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds, and Shape Our Futures
Thinking about fungi makes the world look different. Most fungi live out of sight, yet make up a massively diverse kingdom of organisms that support and sustain nearly all living systems. Fungi throw our concepts of individuality and even intelligence into question. They can change our minds, heal our bodies, and help remediate environmental disaster. In this talk, Merlin will discuss the ways these extraordinary organisms – and our relationships with them – change our understanding the planet on which we live, and the ways that we think, feel, and behave.
Merlin Sheldrake is a biologist, speaker, and author of Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds, and Shape Our Futures. Entangled Life, a New York Times and Sunday Times best-seller, has been translated into twenty-six languages, and was named a TIME Must-Read Book.
Merlin’s research ranges from fungal biology to the history of Amazonian ethnobotany, to the relationship between sound and form in resonant systems. By examining fungi on their own terms, he reveals how these extraordinary organisms – and our relationships with them – are changing our understanding of how life works. Entangled Life was described by The Wall Street Journal as “food for the soul”; by The Guardian as “brilliant” and “entrancing”; by The Observer as “wondrous,” and by The Spectator as “truly astounding.” It won the Wainwright Prize and the Royal Society Science Book Prize. It was nominated for several other accolades, including the British Book Awards Book of the Year 2021 and the Rathbones Folio Prize.
Merlin received a Ph.D. in tropical ecology from Cambridge University for his work on underground fungal networks in tropical forests in Panama, where he was a predoctoral research fellow of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. He is a research associate of the Vrije University Amsterdam, works with the Society for the Protection of Underground Networks (SPUN), and sits on the advisory board of the Fungi Foundation.
A keen brewer and fermenter, Merlin is fascinated by the relationships that arise between humans and more-than-human organisms. He is a musician and performs on the piano and accordion.