Please visit our new site!

LabLit Tip

Four Scientists in Search of an Author

A SciTalk fiction event at the Oxford Literary Festival

Jennifer Rohn 18 February 2007

The write inspiration: meet a scientist muse

See them in their natural habitat...

Do you have a science-related short story in you? Do want to take advantage of all the original and exciting plots, characters and settings that ‘lab lit’ or science-in-fiction have to offer but aren’t sure where to begin? Would you like to see your short story published in the prestigious international life sciences magazine The Scientist? Then recommends ‘Four Scientists in Search of an Author’, an exciting upcoming SciTalk event at the Oxford Literary Festival.

Writers are supposed to write what they know, which is possibly one of the reasons that there are so few realistic novels about science published. It's not easy for a non-scientist writer to get access to researchers and their laboratories or field stations, so perhaps it's not a surprise that there aren't a lot of scientist characters in books, and those that do make it into novels don't tend to ring true. For several years now, the British organization SciTalk has been trying to rectify this situation by allowing interested writers to easily find and contact amenable scientists, an experiment that has already led to several successful literary matches.

On 21 March from 1:30 PM, you can meet four practicing scientists who are eager to inspire and ignite that creative spark with tales of their exploits: Ruth Allington (geomorphologist); Nick Brown (ecology of tropical rain forests); Chris Davis (solar storms and aurorae); and Autumn Rowan-Hull (stem cells and diabetes). Also lending a practical hand will be SciTalk's founder, the novelist Ann Lackie, a former parasitologist and author of a number of great science-related novels (under the name ‘Ann Lingard’; read our interview of Ann here). You can even sign up to visit one of the four scientists’ labs so you can see them in their natural habitat.

You can’t enter the short-story competition unless you attend the event, so book now before all the spaces are filled. To learn more about signing up, judges and sponsorship, and to find out what else SciTalk is up to, visit their website.

Related links has published original short fiction from previous SciTalk events – have a look!

Baiting Michael by Emily Steel

Making Faces by Cheryl Moskowitz