Colin Tudge

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Plenary speaker at the Oxford Food Symposium

Colin Hiram Tudge (born 22 April 1943) is a British science writer and broadcaster.[1] A biologist by training, he is the author of numerous works on food, agriculture, genetics, and species diversity.

Tudge was born and brought up in south London[citation needed] and attended Dulwich College, from where he won a scholarship to Peterhouse, Cambridge, studying zoology and English.[citation needed] In his career, he has worked for World Medicine, Farmers' Weekly and New Scientist, before becoming a freelance writer.[citation needed] In the 1980s he was a regular broadcaster for the BBC, including the BBC Radio 4 science series Spectrum; he wrote and presented The Food Connection; he made one-off documentaries and guest appearances.[citation needed]

He lives in Oxford with his second wife, Ruth West. He was married to Rosemary (née Shewan) and had three children, Amanda, Amy and Robin, the last being an author of political works.

National Life Stories conducted an oral history interview (C1672/12) with Colin Tudge in 2016 for its Science and Religion collection held by the British Library.[2]


  • Consider the Birds: How They Live and Why They Matter London, 2008. Penguin. Explores various aspects of the life of birds from their migrations to their complicated family lives, their differing habitats and survival techniques to the secrets of flight, it discusses how birds live, why they matter, and whether they really are dinosaurs.
  • Feeding People is Easy. Pari Publishing, Italy. 2007. When agriculture is expressly designed to feed people, all the associated problems seem to solve themselves.
  • The Secret Life of Trees. Allen Lane, London, 2005, ISBN 0-7139-9698-6. Penguin Books, London, 2006. Published as The Tree by Crown, New York, 2006. ISBN 1400050367
  • So Shall We Reap: the Concept of Enlightened Agriculture. Allen Lane, London 2003; Penguin Books, London, 2004. An alternative title is So Shall We Reap: how everyone who is liable to be born in the next ten thousand years could eat very well indeed; and why, in practice, our immediate descendants are likely to be in serious trouble, on the future of agriculture, in which he challenges the current science and technology paradigm and outlines a sustainable way of feeding the population of the world, expected to stabilise at ten billion people by the middle of the 21st Century.
  • In Mendel's Footnotes: Genes and Genetics from the 19th century to the 22nd. Jonathan Cape, 2000. Paperback: Vintage, 2002. Published as The Impact of the Gene, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, New York, 2001. ISBN 0-09-928875-3
  • The Variety of Life: A Survey and a Celebration of All the Creatures That Have Ever Lived. Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, 2000. Paperback, March 2002. An accessible phylogeny of life, explaining in clear terms the descent and interrelationships of most kinds of organism.
  • Neanderthals, Bandits and Farmers. Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 1998. Yale University Press, New Haven, 1999. ISBN 0-297-84258-7. A small book explaining how agriculture began. The book is one of a series of long essays by respected contemporary Darwinian thinkers, which were published under the collective title Darwinism Today; the series was inspired by a course of 'Darwin Seminars' which took place at the London School of Economics (LSE) in the late 1990s. [1]
  • The Day Before Yesterday. Jonathan Cape, London, 1995. Pimlico, London, 1996. Published in the US as The Time Before History: 5 Million Years of Human Impact, Scribner, New York 1996. Touchstone, New York, 1997.
  • The Engineer in the Garden: Genes and Genetics from the Idea of Heredity to the Creation of Life. Jonathan Cape, London, 1993, ISBN 0-224-03826-5. Hill & Wang, New York, 1994, ISBN 0809042592. Pimlico (Pbk) 1995
  • Last Animals at the Zoo Hutchinson Radius, London, 1991. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1992. Island Press, Washington, 1992.
  • Global Ecology. Natural History Museum, 1991. Oxford University Press, New York 1991.
  • Food Crops for the Future. Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1988.
  • The Food Connection. British Broadcasting Corporation, London, 1985.
  • Future Cook. Mitchell Beazley 1980. Published as Future Food, Harmony Books, New York, 1980.
  • The Famine Business. Faber and Faber, London 1977. St Martin's Press, New York, 1977. Penguin Books (Pelican), Middlesex, 1979.

• "The Secret Life of Birds" Penguin 2008.


  • The Second Creation: Dolly and the Age of Biological Control. (co-authored with Ian Wilmut and Keith Campbell). Headline, London, 2000. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 2000.
  • Home Farm. (co-authored with Michael Allaby). Macmillan, London, 1977. Sphere Books, London, 1979.


  1. ^ ‘TUDGE, Colin Hiram’, Who's Who 2013, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2013; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2012 ; online edn, Nov 2012 accessed 23 Oct 2013
  2. ^ National Life Stories, 'Tudge, Colin (1 of 10) National Life Stories Collection: Science and Religion', The British Library Board, 2016. Retrieved 9 October 2017

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