a non-random selection: features, comment, essays, talks, interviews, book reviews and more


From Lublin to London, Europe’s Contested Ideas of National Identity,  NYR Daily 12 November 2019

On patriotism, being European, and how to live with the other half of a divided nation.

Observations, FT Magazine  1 March 2019

On identity, documents and reclaiming my Polish citizenship.

Why we need a Europe of communities 20 June 2018

Conversation #14 Conversations With Europe 28 August 2017

In which I talk about what's behind my current writing and activity: 'I've committed myself to doing what I can for openness, inclusion and diversity in the face of the threats that these now face. That is a worldwide struggle, but its European theatre is the one I'm most aware of, and feel most deeply about.' 

And which led, via a question about my favourite place in Europe, to my 2023 book The Stories Old Towns Tell.

Choosing Europe, Choosing Hope 12 June 2016


Artificial Intelligence and Human Insight: The Importance of Understanding What You Are Saying
AIIC UK & Ireland webinar 4 December 2020
Why advances in AI will highlight the qualities that only humans can bring to interpreting.

Four Words For Friend (podcast) The Hedgehog and the Fox 15 May 2019
The importance of learning multiple languages (podcast) Yale University Press 2 May 2019

Using more than one language matters now more than ever Big Issue 22 February 2019
Why some people object to hearing foreign languages in public, and what to do about it.

Why multilingualism matters Yale University Press 18 February 2019
A little of a language can take you a long way.

Is the era of artificial speech translation upon us? Observer 17 February 2019
Why Babel fish will make us value languages more, not less busuu 11 April 2019
The better artificial translation gets, the more people will appreciate the value of knowing languages.

When politics fills the language gap, can science be neutral? New Scientist  2 November 2016
Language is human; language is political. That's a challenge for scientists such as the ones who argue that bilingualism is good for the brain.

'My train, my lingo'. The free movement of languages and people: talk and text
Fabrica Understanding Territoriality conference 26 May 2015

THe future

The lynx effect Has the next mass extinction of species begun? Intelligent Life January/February 2013

The thousand-year stare Imagining and caring about the distant future  Aeon 17 September 2012

Who needs oil? London in the mid-21st century Evening Standard 13 May 2011

Climate change is a hard sell - especially when it's freezing out Guardian 10 December 2010

Can We Rise Above a Warming Planet? Climate Change, Democracy and Human Nature: lecture, October 2010.


The Handaxe Challenge 20 January 2023

The Neanderthal mind Aeon 15 May 2013, and a radio chat about it on Word of Mouth, NHPR, 10 June 2013.

Us and them Aeon 10 January 2013

Believing in Change: Darwin, Lincoln, Obama Royal Society of Edinburgh lecture, 13 November 2009

Can modern science explain gender differences or our capacity for cruelty and kindness? Independent 1 October 2010

Did Charles Darwin believe in racial inequality? Independent 30 January 2009

Far Weirder Than Hobbits Author's version of 'The Little Troublemaker', New Scientist 18 June 2005

John Maynard Smith 1920-2004 A personal appreciation

Darwin Day and the Peppered Moths
Independent on Sunday 29 February 2004

Unity is Health: An Evolutionary Left
Author's version of 'An Evolutionary Left', Prospect October 2001

Market Eugenics Prospect May 2000

Handaxes: Products of Sexual Selection?
by Marek Kohn and Steven Mithen Antiquity 73, 1999

Views for the Left Peter Singer Independent on Sunday 24 May 1998

Cinderella Revisited Martin Daly and Margo Wilson Independent on Sunday 24 November 1996

Drive an Escort, not a Ferrari, and be happy Robert Frank Independent on Sunday 16 June 1996

evolution: book REVIEws

Daniel Dennett's From Bacteria to Bach and Back Literary Review February 2017

Richard Dawkins's An Appetite for Wonder Independent 28 September 2013

Steven Pinker's The Better Angels of Our Nature Independent 7 October 2011

Chris Stringer's The Origin of Our Species  Literary Review August 2011

Richard Dawkins's The Greatest Show on Earth Independent 18 September 2009

Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion Independent 29 September 2006

Daniel Dennett's Breaking the Spell  Independent 10 March 2006

Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate Independent 14 September 2002


Hanna Krall's Chasing the King of Hearts  Independent 18 October 2013

Zygmunt Miłoszewski's A Grain of Truth Independent 19 November 2012

Paweł Huelle's Cold Sea Stories Independent 20 October 2012

Artur Domosławski's Ryszard Kapuściński: A Life Independent 18 August 2012

Andrzej Stasiuk's On the Road to Babadag Independent 29 July 2011

Jan Karski's Story of a Secret State Independent 13 May 2011

Race and science

Race Rerun Trends in Ecology and Evolution November 2015
Writing this book review provided an interesting opportunity to reflect upon writing about race and science twenty years after my book The Race Gallery came out. New claims, new critiques; same angst about what must and must not be said.

Colour Shift New Statesman 12 June 2006

This Racist Undercurrent in the Tide of Genetic Research
Guardian 17 January 2006. Not a headline I would have chosen, unless I'd defined racism in the article, which I should have done. And maybe yet will, if a sense of duty gets the better of me.