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Can Writing Save the Ocean? 

With Natalie Hart, Wyl Menmuir,

Philip Marsden and Fiona Gell

Midday, Saturday 22nd October

at The Poly. Tickets: £8 and £5

From Moby Dick to The Mermaid of Black Conch, the sea has inspired storytellers for generations. But amid a rapidly changing climate, the health of the ocean and the wellbeing of those who depend on it are under threat. 

What is the role of writing in achieving real world action for ocean protection? Are there ways in which the tropes of ocean literature could inadvertently be a barrier to conservation efforts? And how can we better engage readers to help protect the seas that we love?

Join a panel of authors whose writing has, in different ways, explored our relationship with the ocean as they ask these questions and more.

Philip Marsden is a Cornish-based travel and nature writer whose most recent book The Summer Isles saw him head out across the sea on a solo trip from his home on the Fal to the far north of Scotland.


Fiona Gell grew up on the Isle of Man and trained as a marine biologist and has a PhD in seagrass ecology and fisheries. Her first book Spring Tides: Exploring Marine Life on the Isle of Man, is a memoir about marine conservation and the maritime culture and heritage of the Isle of Man.


Wyl Menmuir's debut novel, The Many, was nominated for the Booker Prize and was set in a fictional Cornish fishing village.  HIs latest book The Draw of the Sea, is a work of nonfiction, and it examines our relationship to the water that surrounds us, particularly in Cornwall.


The conversation will be steered by Natalie Hart, whose debut novel Pieces of Me, was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award. She is Head of Research for Communications Inc, a communications agency specialising in ocean protection. She works with over one hundred ocean organisations across the world to develop impactful ways to tell the ocean story.

"There is no better guide to the deep and dazzling meanings found on the western fringe of Europe than Philip Marsden" Patrick Barkham

"Every page of Spring Tides gives the reader everything they want: poetry, knowledge, bejewelled specifics of the ocean and its creatures... A book for our time." Monique Roffey

"Hart writes piercingly about loss. . . . A memorable, cohesive story of a fractured life." Guardian