The British Library: Animal Magic
Hamza Yassin is a wildlife cameraman and ornithologist, as well as the recently-crowned star of Strictly Come Dancing. His first foray into presenting was on BBC’s The One Show as one of their wildlife cameramen and he went on to appear on CBeebies, Countryfile and Animal Park. His love of Scotland was showcased in the Channel 4 documentary Scotland: My Life in the Wild. Hamza lives in a rural part of the west coast of Scotland, with wildlife and nature right on his doorstep as a constant inspiration. In his spare time, he competes in the Highland Games.
Film-maker Andrea Arnold won the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film for Wasp; Red Road won the Jury Prize at Cannes Film Festival, and Fish Tank, starring Michael Fassbender and Katie Jarvis, won the Jury Prize at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. Following Wuthering Heights and American Honey, she directed the second series of Big Little Lies for HBO. Her most recent film and first feature-length documentary, Cow is now screening at festivals around the world. Please note that Andrea will be present in person but not visible on the livestream – audience will instead hear her live audio.
Mya-Rose Craig, also known as Birdgirl, is a 20-year-old British-Bangladeshi birder, environmentalist and diversity activist. She is an Ambassador for Survival International and has written a book amplifying the voices of indigenous peoples. At the age of 14 she founded Black2Nature to engage minority ethnic teenagers with nature and at 17 she became the youngest Briton to receive an honorary Doctorate, awarded by Bristol University. Also at 17 she became the youngest person to see half the world's bird species, and shared a stage with Greta Thunberg. Birdgirl, her 'lyrical, poignant and insightful' book (Margaret Atwood), was published by Jonathan Cape in 2022.
Karen Joy Fowler is the New York Times bestselling author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, the ‘fantastical tale of raw, animalistic love’ (Oprah Magazine) that won the 2014 PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction and was short-listed for the 2014 Man Booker Prize. Her other work includes The Jane Austen Book Club, which spent 13 weeks on the New York Times bestsellers list and was a New York Times Notable Book, and Sister Noon, a finalist for the 2001 PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction. Her most recent, Booth, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. She lives in Santa Cruz, California.
Katherine Rundell is a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. Her bestselling books for children have been translated into more than thirty languages and have won multiple awards. Rundell is also the author of a book for adults, Why You Should Read Children’s Books, Even Though You Are So Old and Wise. She has written for, among others, the London Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, The New York Review of Books and The New York Times: mostly about books, though sometimes about night climbing, tightrope walking, and animals.