Laura Spinney

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Laura Spinney
Born1971 (age 49–50)
Alma materDurham University (BSc)
Scientific career
FieldsSpanish flu[1]
Pandemics
InstitutionsMax Planck Institute for the History of Science
Websitewww.lauraspinney.com

Laura Spinney (born August 1971) is a British science journalist, novelist, and non-fiction writer whose 2017 book Pale Rider is an account of the 1918 influenza pandemic.[2]

Education[edit]

Spinney graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Sciences from Durham University in 1993.[3][4]

Career[edit]

Spinney has written for Nature,[5][6][7][8] National Geographic, The Economist, New Scientist, and The Guardian.[9] She is the author of two novels, The Doctor [10] and The Quick,[11] and a collection of oral history from a central European city entitled Rue Centrale.[12]

In 2017 she published Pale Rider,[1] an account of the 1918 flu pandemic,[13][14] published by Jonathan Cape who acquired the global rights in an auction in 2015.[15] Spinney indicates that the global pandemic was the biggest disaster of the 20th century, exceeding the death tolls of both World War I (17 million) and World War II (60 million dead). Its full scope has only been recognized in the 21st century as researchers have examined old records, determining that 1 in 3 people became ill and between 1 in 10 and 1 in 5 died. At the time illiteracy was common, germ theory relatively new, antibiotics had not been discovered, and long-distance communication was often limited.[4]

The first clearly identified and documented case was Albert Gitchell, a U.S. Army cook who reported in sick at Camp Funston in Kansas on 4 March 1918. Three distinct waves of disease outbreak occurred worldwide: in spring 1918, in late summer and autumn, and from later winter 1918 to early 1919. Between the first and second waves, the virus mutated and became more deadly in humans. The death toll in countries like China and India was particularly poorly documented. Spinney vividly describes conditions from all over the globe, from Rio de Janeiro to Russia.[4]

Spinney's English translation of Swiss writer Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz's novel Derborence was published in 2018.[16][17] In 2019 she spent two months as a journalist-in-residence at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, Germany.[18]

Books[edit]

Spinney's published books and novels include:

  • The Doctor[10]
  • The Quick[11]
  • Rue Centrale[12]
  • Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How it Changed the World[1][4]
  • Derborence: Where the devils came down[16]

Articles[edit]

Spinney's published articles include:

  • "Biotechnology: "Biotechnology in Crops: Issues for the Developing World" by Laura Spinney for Oxfam GB". San Francisco State University. 13 January 1998. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  • H.M. The Economist, 2008.
  • "Disease naming must change to avoid scapegoating and politics". Aeon Essays. Retrieved 21 October 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  • How Facebook, fake news and friends are warping your memory[5]
  • "Did Human Sacrifice Help People Form Complex Societies?". The Atlantic. 27 February 2018. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  • "Unearthed: Why we've got monuments like Stonehenge all wrong". New Scientist. 8 January 2018. Retrieved 21 October 2018.

Personal life[edit]

Spinney lives in Paris, France.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How it Changed the World. Jonathan Cape, 2017. ISBN 9781910702376
  2. ^ DeGroot, Gerard (20 May 2017). "Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How it Changed the World by Laura Spinney". thetimes.co.uk. Retrieved 21 October 2018. (subscription required)
  3. ^ "Books and Authors". Durham First (15): 31. Spring 2002.
  4. ^ a b c d Rego Barry, Rebecca (13 November 2018). "Exhuming the Flu". Distillations. Science History Institute. 4 (3): 40–43. Retrieved 6 February 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ a b Spinney, Laura (2017). "How Facebook, fake news and friends are warping your memory". Nature. 543 (7644): 168–170. doi:10.1038/543168a.
  6. ^ Spinney, Laura (2019). "How pandemics shape social evolution". Nature. 574 (7778): 324–326. doi:10.1038/d41586-019-03048-8. ISSN 0028-0836.
  7. ^ Spinney, Laura (2020). "Panicking about societal collapse? Plunder the bookshelves". Nature. 578 (7795): 355–357. doi:10.1038/d41586-020-00436-3. ISSN 0028-0836.
  8. ^ Spinney, Laura (2012). "Q&A: Maestro of the swarm". Nature. 481 (7380): 144–144. doi:10.1038/481144a. ISSN 0028-0836.
  9. ^ Spinney, Laura (25 March 2020). "It takes a whole world to create a new virus, not just China | Laura Spinney" – via www.theguardian.com.
  10. ^ a b The Doctor. Methuen, London, 2001. ISBN 0413754707
  11. ^ a b The Quick. Fourth Estate, London, 2007. ISBN 9780007240500
  12. ^ a b Rue Centrale. Editions L’Age d’Homme, 2013. ISBN 9782825143216
  13. ^ Seymour, Miranda (4 June 2017). "Pale Rider review – painful lessons of the flu pandemic". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 13 October 2018. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  14. ^ "The deadliest disease in history". economist.com. 25 May 2017. Archived from the original on 23 June 2018. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  15. ^ Farrington, Joshua (17 June 2015). "Cape wins auction for Spanish Flu study". thebookseller.com. The Bookseller. Archived from the original on 23 June 2018. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  16. ^ a b Derborence: Where the devils came down. Skomlin, 2018. ISBN 9781789265811
  17. ^ "Derborence – Where the devils came down". Skomlin. 2 October 2018. Archived from the original on 13 October 2018. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  18. ^ "Journalists-in-Residence". mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de. Archived from the original on 13 October 2018. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  19. ^ Spinney, Laura (5 December 2013). "About Laura Spinney". Archived from the original on 28 January 2018. Retrieved 21 October 2018.