Virginia Morell is a New York Times bestselling author of four books. Her latest, Animal Wise, has been widely praised as
"touching and provocative," "fascinating and intellectually sweeping," and "heart- and brain-stirring." A correspondent
for Science since 1990, Morell covers evolutionary biology, conservation, and animal behavior. She's also a regular
contributor to National Geographic, and her writing has appeared in Slate, the New York Times Magazine, Smithsonian,
Lapham's Quarterly, Conde Nast Traveler, Discover, Outside, and Best American Science and Nature Writing. Her 2004
National Geographic article on climate change was a finalist for Best Environmental Article from the Society of
Environmental Journalists. She blogs at Animal Wise at Psychology Today.
Born in Southern California, Morell received a B.A. in English Literature from Pomona College in Claremont. She also has
M.A. in English Literature from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and an MSc in Environmental Studies from
California State University, Dominguez Hills. Her parents were great outdoor enthusiasts, who passed to her their travel
skills and "itchy-feet" genes. After her studies at McGill, these travel genes seriously kicked in, and she crossed the globe
to Ethiopia, where she lived for two years, teaching English composition at what was then Haile Selassie I University.
Not long after her arrival, the Ethiopian Army deposed the Emperor, and gave the university the more prosaic name,
The National University. Her time in Ethiopia left her with a lasting love for the country and African continent, the people
and wildlife, and taught her the virtue of patience and that revolutions are not as romantic as they're made out to be in
many books and movies. She has since returned numerous times to Ethiopia and other parts of Africa for her articles and
books. Most recently, she has written about grieving animals, dogs that joke, monkeys that whisper, and the 2,000 wild
coyotes that now populate the city of Chicago.
In addition to Animal Wise, Morell is the author of three other celebrated books. The New York Times awarded a Notable
Book of the Year to Ancestral Passions, her dramatic biography of the famed Leakey family and their notable findings.
Blue Nile, about her journey down the Blue Nile, from Ethiopia to Sudan, was a San Francisco Chronicle Best Travel Book.
And The Washington Post listed Wildlife Wars, which she co-authored with Richard Leakey, as one of their Best Books of
An accomplished public speaker, Morell spent March 2009 as a principal lecturer for National Geographic Society’s
Expeditions Program on one of its exclusive, round-the-world trips. She lives in Ashland, Oregon with her husband,
writer Michael McRae, a Calico cat, Nini, and a smart, six-year-old American Working Farm Collie, Buckaroo.
Morell’s speaking engagements are represented by the Gillian MacKenzie Agency, from where this article is adapted.