The sea surrounds us – especially here on the Cape. It gives us life, provides us with the air we breathe and the food we eat. It is where we came from, and it carries our commerce. It covers two-thirds of our planet. Yet caught up in our everyday lives, we seem to turn our backs on it, and what it means. In this talk, Philip Hoare sets out on a personal voyage to rediscover the sea, its birds and, especially, its whales, as symbols of the vexed meeting of human and natural history. How has our relationship with the sea become embodied in the mysterious shape of the whale, and what does that relationship say about us? Drawing on recent scientific developments which indicate that whales and dolphins may possess a culture of their own – and that they may even be deserving of ‘non-human persons’ status – he asks what our shared past may have to say about our shared future. Suitable for all ages.
Philip Hoare’s book, Leviathan or, The Whale (2008), won the 2009 BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction. His latest book, The Sea Inside, was published in 2013.
He wrote and presented the BBC Arena film The Hunt for Moby-Dick, and directed three films for BBC’s Whale Night, and is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Southampton University, England.
He is also co-curator, with Angela Cockayne, of the Moby-Dick Big Read, www.mobydickbigread.com, featuring free-to-access readings of Melville’s book by Sir David Attenborough, Stephen Fry, Mary Oliver, John Waters, Tilda Swinton and Benedict Cumberbatch. Philip, who is Special Ambassador to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, has been a frequent visitor to the Cape for fifteen years, and is a volunteer on the Dolphin Whalewatch in Provincetown.