J. M. Ledgard

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J. M. Ledgard
Born1968 (age 55–56)
Occupation(s)Novelist, technologist, foreign and war correspondent
Notable workGiraffe (novel), Submergence (novel)

J. M. Ledgard (born 1968) is a British born novelist and an expert in advanced technology, nature, and risk in emerging markets.[1] He also works with conceptual artists.

Early life[edit]

Ledgard was born in the Shetland Islands, off the north coast of Scotland,[2] in 1968.


Foreign and War Correspondent[edit]

After reporting on the Romanian revolution for The Scotsman as a student,[1] he worked as a foreign political and war correspondent for two decades. He reported lead stories from 60 countries for The Economist, including stints in Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Africa.[2] His emphasis was on security, natural resources, and macroeconomics. He reported on several conflicts and is a founder member of The Frontline Club. He was a contributing writer to 1843, The Economist's sister magazine. He writes occasional long pieces for The Atlantic and other publications.[3]


Ledgard is the author of two novels, Giraffe (2006)[4][5] and Submergence (2013),[6][7] which was made into a film in 2017 of the same name by Wim Wenders.[8] His work has been compared to W.G. Sebald and John Le Carré.[9] Submergence was a New York Times Book of the Year and a pick of the year by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, NPR, and New York.[10] Giraffe is considered a cult novel in the animal rights movement.[11] A book of essays, Terra Firma, concerned Africa and technology.[12]


Linnaeus, a prototype for interspecies money transfer

He was a fellow and director at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne since 2012,[1] and has been involved in promoting super advanced technology in Africa.[13] He works with leading artificial intelligence scientists and roboticists to improve outcomes in often very poor communities and for nature. He was an early proponent of drone technology.[14][15] He invented the concept of blood delivery by drone, introducing the American startup Zipline into Rwanda.[16] He advanced the idea of droneports across the tropics, realising together with the architect Lord Norman Foster[17] a droneport prototype at the 2016 Venice Biennale. His cargo drone work has been taken up and scaled by the World Bank, the UN and commercial partners.[18] He supports digital self-sovereignty and was involved in early mobile money.[19] Since 2018, he has been focused on how artificial intelligence will perceive nature.[20] He was a visiting professor in AI and Nature at the Czech Technical University.[21] He is presently developing a prototype for interspecies money, by which rare non-human life forms may revalue themselves to improve their chance of survival.[22] He is an early proponent of the interspecies, an attempt to better comprehend other species using new technologies.[23] He is a fellow of the Linnean Society and was a visiting fellow at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.


He collaborates with major artists on nature based projects, including on the deep ocean and digital futures with Olafur Eliasson,[24] on the interspecies with Tomas Saraceno,[25] and Federico Diaz[26] on nature based projects.


  1. ^ a b c "Jonathan M. Ledgard". World Economic Forum. Retrieved 2019-10-12.
  2. ^ a b Taub, Ben (2019-09-16). "Jonathan Ledgard Believes Imagination Could Save the World". ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved 2019-10-12.
  3. ^ Ledgard, Jonathan (2004-04-01). "The Valley Of The King". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2020-08-10.
  4. ^ Flint, James (2006-03-04). "Review: Giraffe by JM Ledgard". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-10-12.
  5. ^ Connolly, Kate (2007-03-30). "Tall story: the mystery of the Prague giraffe massacre". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-10-12.
  6. ^ Skloot, Floyd (2013-06-07). "Into the Abyss". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-10-12.
  7. ^ Gourevitch, Philip (2013-04-30). ""There Is Another World in Our World": A Conversation with J. M. Ledgard". ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved 2019-10-12.
  8. ^ Whittaker, Richard (April 13, 2018). "Wim Wenders Talks About Submergence". www.austinchronicle.com. Retrieved 2020-08-10.
  9. ^ "FSG Originals | Terra Firma Triptych". FSG Originals. Retrieved 2020-08-10.
  10. ^ "Book Review: 'Submergence'". NPR.org. Retrieved 2020-08-10.
  11. ^ Lindner, Elsbeth (2006-08-20). "Giraffes penned in zoo wake up dazed Czechs". SFGate. Retrieved 2020-08-10.
  12. ^ "Terra Firma Triptych". Work in Progress. 2015-07-10. Retrieved 2020-08-10.
  13. ^ Taub, Ben (16 September 2019). "Jonathan Ledgard Believes Imagination Could Save the World". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  14. ^ Wakefield, Jane (2019-01-26). "The airport that welcomes drone flights". Retrieved 2019-10-12.
  15. ^ "Drones and Droneports Under African Skies". The Possible. 2017-08-31. Retrieved 2019-10-12.
  16. ^ "Drohnen statt EselÜber Ruanda entsteht das erste Last drohnen-Netzwerk der Welt.Profitiert am Ende wieder nur der Westen?" (PDF). Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  17. ^ "Foster reveals vaulted drone port prototype at Venice Biennale". Dezeen. 2016-05-27. Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  18. ^ "African Drone Forum – Transforming mobility through technology". Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  19. ^ Ledgard, Jonathan; Clippinger, John (2013-10-29). "How a digital currency could transform Africa". Financial Times. Retrieved 2020-08-10.
  20. ^ "Een revolutionair plan: dieren die mensen betalen om voor hen te zorgen". De Standaard (in Flemish). 13 January 2020. Retrieved 2020-08-10.
  21. ^ "Professor Jonathan Ledgard will lecture at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering - News service - Czech technical university in Prague". aktualne.cvut.cz. Retrieved 2020-08-13.
  22. ^ "Linnaeus – first interspecies money transfer service". Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  23. ^ "Interspecies I/O". interspecies.io. Retrieved 2020-08-13.
  24. ^ "Studio Olafur Eliasso..." olafureliasson.net. Retrieved 2020-08-10.
  25. ^ "On Air". Studio Tomás Saraceno. 2018-10-13. Retrieved 2020-08-10.
  26. ^ "Signal Festival - I'm Leaving the Body / 2019". www.signalfestival.com. Retrieved 2020-08-10.