Jane Wilson-Howarth

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Jane Wilson-Howarth
Jane & chameleon.jpg
Born Jane Margaret Wilson
Pen name Jane Wilson-Howarth
Occupation physician, author, lecturer
Nationality British
Genre travel narratives, travel health, fiction
Subject Nepal, Madagascar
Spouse Simon Howarth (born 1987)
Children Alexander, David (died 1996), Sebastian

Jane Wilson-Howarth (born 1954) is a British physician, lecturer and author. She has written three travel health guides, two travel narratives, a novel, a series of wildlife adventures for children, innumerable articles for non-specialist readers, and many scientific/academic papers.

Personal life[edit]

Jane Wilson was born in Epsom Hospital, Surrey, as one of the three children of Peggy (Margaret) Thomas (1926–2015), from London, and a bibliophile, Joe Wilson (1920–2011), from Ballymena in Northern Ireland. She grew up in Stoneleigh, a suburb north of Ewell Village. She is married to Simon Howarth.


She attended Stoneleigh East County Infants, Junior and Senior Schools, and also Cheam High School, but was challenged by dyslexia. She left school at 16 to study for an Ordinary National Diploma in sciences at Ewell Technical College (now North East Surrey College of Technology).

She then studied biological sciences at Plymouth Polytechnic, concentrating on invertebrates, pollution studies, environmental resource management, and completed a research project on cave microclimate and its influence on collembola. This involved countless trips into Radford Cave and led to her first publication.[1] During cave exploration in the UK she made extensive collections of invertebrates to document the species living in lightless environments.[2] In 1976 she was awarded a travelling scholarship by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, which funded a trip to Nepal.

The Nepal connection led to a veterinary research job and she wrote a thesis about rabbit parasites for an MSc from Corpus Christi College, Oxford. Through this work she developed both an interest in immunology and a plan to work to help the poor in emerging nations. She then studied for a medical degree at the University of Southampton.

Wilson-Howarth is now a general practitioner. She gained a Diploma in Child Health (Royal College of Physicians, London 1992), a Diploma in Community Child Health (Royal College of Physicians, RCGP and Public Health Faculty, Edinburgh 1992), a Diploma of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists 2007) and a fellowship in the Faculty of Travel Medicine, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow in 2009.

Medical career[edit]

Since qualifying as a doctor of medicine, Wilson-Howarth has worked in hospital medicine and obstetrics and gynaecology in Swindon, orthopaedics in Salisbury and paediatrics in Oxford. She was employed on various child survival and hygiene promotion projects in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Indonesia, India and Nepal. Currently she is a general practitioner (GP) in Cambridgeshire and teaches Cambridge medical students about general practice and also international health. She lectures on travel health too and has contributed to numerous textbooks,[3][4][5] and on occasion to health stories for national newspapers.[6] [7] Wilson-Howarth has been a trustee for Teaching-aids at Low Cost since early 2015.


Dervla Murphy, Eric Newby, Hilary Bradt, Gerald Durrell, David Attenborough, Joe Wilson (her father).


Wilson-Howarth started caving and also scuba diving while an undergraduate in Plymouth pursuing ecological studies. She did some cave diving and was probably the first woman to do decompression dives in the subterranean "lake" in Pridhamsleigh Cavern in Devon.[8] In 1973 she won the British Universities and Colleges individual canoe slalom event and on the same day also the seven-mile whitewater canoeing race. In addition she won the national colleges sailing championship.

In 1978–79 she rowed for Corpus Christi College, Oxford, the first year the college had fielded a ladies eight, when they won three "bumps" in Eights Week. In 2004 she took the sport up again at Cambridge, rowing in various races on the River Cam and at Eton Dorney.


Wilson-Howarth spent six months on an overland trip to the Himalayan region; this was with a small team intent on finding new caves in Pakistan, India and Nepal and documenting what lived inside them. She began some research on histoplasmosis, on bat rabies and made extensive zoological collections mostly for the British Museum (Natural History) / Natural History Museum, London.[9]

While an undergraduate at Southampton she was involved in further expeditions – to Madagascar[10][11] and (leading a team of eleven) Peru.[12] She also organised a medical elective with Save the Children in Ladakh.[13] In 1983 she was awarded the BISH Medal by the Scientific Exploration Society for "courage and determination in the face of adversity".

The first Madagascar expedition led to a second, and this work contributed to the Ankarana Massif's recognition as an important refuge for mammals including the endangered crowned lemur, Sanford's brown lemur,[14][15] as well as smaller wildlife[16] and a previously unknown blind fish.[17][18] The Massif also proved to be a rich location where important sub-fossil giant lemur remains were discovered.[19][20][21]


The little propeller-driven plane droned along the line of the great Himalaya. The middle hills beneath us looked like a frozen, fathomless, choppy sea. Tossed as we were by turbulence and updrafts, we seemed as helpless and insignificant as a lost housefly buzzing over a threatening, deep-green ocean. Machhapuchharé, the fishtail, at nearly 7,000 metres, is as high as the highest Andean giants, yet from the air it looked tiny, overshadowed as it was by the Annapurna horseshoe, the seventh highest mountain in the world.

Jane Wilson-Howarth[22] in A Glimpse of Eternal Snows”

Wilson-Howarth's writing almost invariably has a travel theme. Her first book (when she wrote as Jane Wilson), Lemurs of the Lost World (1990, 1995), is about expeditions to Madagascar and was described as the finest travel book thus far written about Madagascar by Dervla Murphy in the Times Literary Supplement.[23] The Essential Guide to Travel Health is now in its fifth edition and was originally launched as Bugs Bites & Bowels in 1995. Your Child Abroad: a travel health guide is a family manual written in collaboration with paediatrician Dr Matthew Ellis. How to Shit Around the World is a compilation of toilet tales, and includes an introduction by Kathleen Meyer, author of How to Shit in the Woods. A Glimpse of Eternal Snows is a poignant travel memoir[24][25] set in Cambridge and Nepal; it has received praise in the press;[26] a second edition was published in the UK in October 2012 and in North

Sometimes perhaps a short life and a happy one is better than anything we doctors can offer. A Glimpse of Eternal Snows is the proverbial life-changing book.

Dr James Le Fanu[26] in The Daily Telegraph

America in February 2013. A third edition was launched in India in 2015.

Her first novel Snowfed Waters was published early in 2014 and was launched in February 2017 in the subcontinent by the Delhi-based publisher Speaking Tiger. This is a fictional sequel to A Glimpse of Eternal Snows.

Wilson-Howarth has contributed at literary festivals.[27] Her work has been featured twice at the Cambridge Wordfest; she read from her memoir and, more recently, a contribution was

Books5 004small.jpg

selected by Oxygen Books / City Picks, for a public reading of Cambridge's finest writing. A Glimpse of Eternal Snows was also chosen for The National Year of Reading and by BBC Radio Cambridgeshire for its A Book a Day project in May. Wilson-Howarth contributed "Kathmandu" to a poetry anthology[28] and several of her pieces on travel and writing are in prose collections.[29][30][31][32][33]

She has written travel health features for almost every issue of Wanderlust (a total of 167 articles) and for Condé Nast Traveller. She has occasionally contributed to The Independent newspaper and other national publications.[34][35][36]

Wilson-Howarth is a member of the Society of Authors, the innovative Walden Writers cooperative, and Cambridge Writers. She often gives talks and readings especially in East Anglia.[37] She was featured by Lonely Planet's on-line travel magazine.[38]


Travel Narratives

  • Wilson, Jane (2014). Lemurs of the Lost World: exploring the forests and Crocodile Caves of Madagascar. Impact, London. p. 216. ASIN B00DXKZX7O. ISBN 978-1-874687-48-1. 
  • Wilson-Howarth, Jane (2012). A Glimpse of Eternal Snows: a journey of love and loss in the Himalayas. Bradt Travel Guides, UK. p. 390. ASIN B009S7FHU4. ISBN 978-1-84162-435-8. 

Travel Health Guides

  • Wilson-Howarth, Jane (1995, 1999, 2002, 2006). Bugs Bites & Bowels now republished as The Essential Guide to Travel Health (see below)
  • Wilson-Howarth, Jane; Matthew Ellis (1998). Your Child's Health Abroad: a manual for travelling families. Bradt / Globe Pequot. p. 198. ISBN 1-898323-63-1. 
  • Wilson-Howarth, Jane; Matthew Ellis (2015). Your Child Abroad: a travel health guide. Bradt / Globe Pequot. p. 212. ASIN B012TRZDQ2. ISBN 978-1-84162-120-3. 
  • Wilson-Howarth, Jane (2006). How to Shit Around the World: the art of staying clean and healthy while traveling. Travelers Tales, Calif. p. 165. ASIN B0050IGW9U. ISBN 978-1-932361-32-2. 
  • Wilson-Howarth, Jane (2009). The Essential Guide to Travel Health: don't let Bugs Bites & Bowels Spoil Your Trip. Cadogan, London. p. 312. ISBN 978-1-86011-424-3. 


  • Wilson-Howarth, Jane (2014). Snowfed Waters: a cure for depression. p. 316. ASIN B00HRUBBRW. ISBN 978-1-78407-322-0. 
  • Wilson-Howarth, Jane (2016). Himalayan Kidnap: an eco-adventure. Eifrig Publishing, Lemont PA. p. 176. ISBN 9781632331007. 
  • Wilson-Howarth, Jane (2017). Himalayan Kidnap: an eco-adventure. Eifrig Publishing, Lemont PA. p. 234. ISBN 9781632331274. 
  • Wilson-Howarth, Jane (2017). Snowfed Waters: a cure for depression. Speaking Tiger. p. 287. ISBN 9789386338211. 
  • Wilson-Howarth, Jane (2017). Chasing the Tiger: an eco-adventure. Eifrig Publishing, Lemont PA. p. 180. 


Wilson-Howarth has given television interviews on BBC Breakfast, ITV Tyne Tees and Sky Travel as well as on national Radio 4 programmes including Excess Baggage, Breakaway, The Living World and Medicine Now. She has also been interviewed live for radio programmes broadcast in the US, Canada, South Africa, Australia, Ireland and innumerable local radio stations. She often contributes to BBC Radio Cambridgeshire's Afternoon Show.

Walden Writers[edit]

Wilson-Howarth is active in the Walden Writers cooperative, set up in Saffron Walden, Essex, by authors Amy Corzine and Martyn Everett in 2008, to cross-promote the work of its members, organise literary events, publish a magazine[39][40][41] and exchange information and support.[42] Some meetings are workshops for members' works in progress,[43][44] and covering matters of printing, distribution and marketing that were once the domain of publishers. Other members include biographer Clare Mulley, children's authors Victor Watson, Rosemary Hayes and Penny Speller, novelists including Saumya Balsari and Carol Frazer, and historian Lizzie Sanders.


  1. ^ Wilson, J.M. (1975). "The effect of low humidity on the distribution of Heteromurus nitidus (Collembola) in Radford Cave, Devon". Transactions of the British Cave Research Association. 2 (3): 123–126. 
  2. ^ Transactions of the British Cave Research Association vol 5; no 3; p. 195
  3. ^ Johnson, Chris; Sarah Anderson; Jon Dallimore; Chris Imray; Shane Winser; James Moore; David Warrell (2015). Oxford Handbook of Expedition and Wilderness Medicine. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 62–67 & 410–413. ISBN 978-0-19-929661-3. 
  4. ^ Field, Vanessa; et al. (2010). Health Information for Overseas Travel. London: National Travel Health Network and Centre. p. 378. ISBN 978-0-9565792-0-1. 
  5. ^ Sharland, Mike; et al. (2011). Manual of Childhood Infections (Oxford Specialist Handbooks in Paediatrics). Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 350–356. ISBN 978-0-19-957358-5. 
  6. ^ "Coping with travel sickness". Daily Telegraph. 10 August 2011. Retrieved 30 August 2015. 
  7. ^ "Shortage of yellow fever vaccine". Independent newspaper on line. 2 February 2014. Retrieved 3 February 2014. 
  8. ^ "Diving an Azure Lake". Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  9. ^ Jane M. Wilson (1982). "A review of world Troglopedetini (Collembola, Paronellidae), including an identification table and descriptions of new species". Cave Science: Transactions of the British Cave Research Association. 9 (3): 210–226. 
  10. ^ Howarth, C.J.; et al. (1986). "Population Ecology of the Ring-tailed Lemur and White Sifaka at Berenty, Madagascar". Folia Primatologica. 47: 39–48. doi:10.1159/000156262. 
  11. ^ Wilson, Jane M. (1987). "The Crocodile Caves of Ankarana, Madagascar". Oryx. 21 (1): 43–47. doi:10.1017/s0030605300020470. 
  12. ^ White, A.J. (1984). "Cognitive impairment of AMS and acetazolamide". Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine. 5: 598–603. 
  13. ^ Wilson, J.M. (1986). "Hair analysis and the assessment of marginal malnutrition in children from Little Tibet". Transactions of the Royal Society Tropical Medicine & Hygiene. 80: 168–9. doi:10.1016/0035-9203(86)90231-2. 
  14. ^ Wilson, J.M.; et al. (1989). "Ecology and Conservation of the Crowned Lemur at Ankarana, N. Madagascar with notes on Sanford's Lemur, Other Sympatrics and Subfossil Lemurs". Folia Primatologica. 52: 1–26. doi:10.1159/000156379. 
  15. ^ Fowler, S.V.; et al. (1989). "A survey and management proposals for a tropical deciduous forest reserve at Ankarana in northern Madagascar". Biological Conservation. 47: 297–313. doi:10.1016/0006-3207(89)90072-4. 
  16. ^ José G. Palacios-Vargas; Jane Wilson (1990). "Troglobius coprophagus, a new genus and species of cave collembolan from Madagascar with notes on its ecology" (PDF). International Journal of Speleology. 19 (1–4): 67–73. doi:10.5038/1827-806x.19.1.6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 July 2011. 
  17. ^ Banister, K.E. (1994). "Glossogobius ankaranensis, a new species of blind cave goby from Madagascar". Journal of Ichthyology & Aquatic Biology. 1 (3): 25–28. 
  18. ^ Wilson, Jane M. (1996). "Conservation and ecology of a new blind fish, Glossogobius ankaranensis from the Ankarana Caves, Madagascar". Oryx. 30 (3): 218–221. doi:10.1017/s0030605300021669. 
  19. ^ Wilson, Jane (ed.) (1987). "The Crocodile Caves of Ankarana : Expedition to Northern Madagascar, 1986". Cave Science : Transactions of the British Cave Research Association. 14 (3): 107–119. 
  20. ^ Wilson, J.M.; et al. (1995). "Past and Present Lemur Fauna at Ankarana, N. Madagascar". Primate Conservation. 16: 47–52. 
  21. ^ Godfrey, L.R.; et al. (1996). "Ankarana: window to Madagascar's past". Lemur News. 2: 16–17. 
  22. ^ Jane Wilson-Howarth (2012). A Glimpse of Eternal Snows: a journey of love and loss in the Himalayas. Bradt Travel Guides, UK. p. 390. ASIN B009S7FHU4. ISBN 978-1-84162-435-8. 
  23. ^ "Memsahib on the Move". Times Literary Supplement. 8 March 1996. Retrieved 30 August 2015. 
  24. ^ "Mountain baby". The Guardian. 21 June 2008. Retrieved 30 August 2015. 
  25. ^ To Live – and Die – with Dignity
  26. ^ a b "A Short Life and a Happy One". The Daily Telegraph. 15 July 2008. Retrieved 30 August 2015. 
  27. ^ Literary Talent on Show
  28. ^ Society of Medical Writers (2012). Poems on Prescription. Society of Medical Writers, UK. pp. 103pp. ISBN 978-0-9573575-0-1. 
  29. ^ Power to Heal
  30. ^ Doctors writing about patients
  31. ^ Making time for writing
  32. ^ Representing Refugees
  33. ^ Barclay, Jennifer; Adrian Phillips (2015). To Oldly Go: tales of intrepid travel. Chalfont St Peter: Bradt Travel Guides. p. 240. ISBN 978-1784770273. 
  34. ^ "Never Travel Without". The Guardian. 15 January 2000. Retrieved 30 August 2015. 
  35. ^ Wilson-Howarth, Jane (2009). "Have children, will travel". The Geographical. London. 81 (7): 67–70. Archived from the original on 13 January 2012. 
  36. ^ "8 Illnesses you could have brought back from holiday". The Telegraph. 7 September 2015. 
  37. ^ Cambs Times
  38. ^ Meet a Traveller
  39. ^ Walden Writers One: an anthology of short stories, poetry and articles of interest. Walden Writers, UK. Spring 2009. 
  40. ^ Walden Writers Two: an anthology of short stories, poetry and articles of interest. Walden Writers, UK. Autumn 2009. 
  41. ^ Walden Writers Three: an anthology of short stories, poetry and articles of interest. Walden Writers, UK. Autumn 2010. 
  42. ^ Walden Writers Facebook page
  43. ^ Walden Writers and the Joy of Books
  44. ^ Walden Writers in Essex Book Festival

External links[edit]