News >> Author of 'Life as a Beast' Charles Foster comes to Schumacher College

Author of 'Life as a Beast' Charles Foster comes to Schumacher College

charles foster
Monday, 14 May, 2018

How far would you go to understand your friends from the animal kingdom?
Writer, academic, barrister and free thinker Charles Foster decided watching them was not enough; he had to live as they did.

Now he is coming to Schumacher College, to talk about his work, in which he sampled life as a badger, an otter, a fox, a stag and a swift, in order to better understand them.

His 're-wilding' research, which later formed the best-selling book, Being a Beast, recounted his varying fortunes as he follows in the ancient shamanistic tradition of exploring the boundary between man and animal.

It was not work for the faint-hearted as it included eating worms and living in a badger sett as well as foraging in bins and sleeping in gardens while he explored life as an urban fox.

Charles is a true polymath who seems to run a number of careers simultaneously. As a practising barrister he was involved in high-profile cases like that of Tony Nicklinson and Debbie Purdy, who sought support for assisted suicide.  He is also involved in issues such as consent to medical treatment and the status of the early embryo and he continues to teach medical law and ethics at Oxford University.  He still carries out veterinary work and is particularly interested in veterinary acupuncture and in general wildlife and large animal medicine. 

As if that were not enough, he has been involved in a number of expeditions to deserts include the Algerian Sahara, the Western Desert of Egypt, Sinai and the Danakil Depression. He has also run the Marathon des Sables (the 150 mile race in the Sahara) and skied to the North Pole - or has he puts it he has "bled in many beautiful and desolate landscapes".

Charles brings all this accumulated wisdom, as well as that of being a parent of six children, a visiting lecturer on the short course What is Life?: Discovering the Intersection of Science and Spirituality.
The course, which runs in June, is also part of the MA Ecology and Spirituality convened by Dr Andy Letcher.