A great month for a book about fig trees


It has been an eventful month for my new book. Published in the UK as Ladders to Heaven and in North America as Gods, Wasps and Stranglers, it tells how fig trees have shaped our world, influenced diverse cultures and can help us restore life to degraded rainforests.

This week BBC Radio 4’s Food Programme featured it in its annual review of new food-related books. Author Alex Renton called it: “A lovely little book, a real pleasure”. You can listen to the show here.

Earlier in the month, on WHYY public radio in the United States, broadcaster Mike McGrath said: “My mind has been blown… Absolutely wonderful… My book of the year”. You can listen to the full show here (I’m on from about 14 minutes, 10 seconds).

Also this month, Marion Nestle of Food Politics called it “a truly informative book”, and Donna Seamen of Booklist called it “lively… mind-expanding… richly entertaining and truly enlightening”.

In other news, I learned a few days ago that the first translated edition of the book will come out in 2018, in Turkish, through Istanbul-based publisher Nail Kitabevi.

I have also been busy with interviews. Last week, Erik Hoffner at Mongabay.com opened with a question about the virtues of strangler figs and ended up asking about robots in rainforests.

Along the way we talked about why figs are so important in rainforests, whether figs will endure climate change or help us to limit it, and what is special about strange shaggy animals called binturongs. I started by explaining why strangler figs are trees of life, not death. You can read the full interview here.

And, if you are in the USA, you can listen this week to a new interview by Lynne Rossetto Kasper for The Splendid Table, a food and culture show broadcast by American Public Media. It airs on Friday 2 December, and will be available online as a podcast after that.

I am learning just how hard it is to market a book, but that every little bit of publicity helps. So, if you have already read my book, I would be very grateful if you would consider leaving a rating at Amazon (US or UK) and/or Goodreads.

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