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In a special talk for Glasgow Skeptics, science writer Gavin Francis considers the transformations in mind and body that continue across the arc of human life. We can't avoid puberty, the menopause, or our hair turning grey. Others may be welcome milestones along our path - a much-wanted pregnancy, a cancer cured, or a long-awaited transition to another gender. We may find ourselves turning down dark paths, towards the cruel distortions of anorexia, or the shifting sands of memory loss. Francis draws on history, art, literature, and myth to show how the very essence of being human is change. This event comes you to in association with our friends at Waterstones on Sauchiehall Street, who will ensure that Gavin's books will be on display and available for purchase. You will most probably be able to persuade Gavin to sign your copy as well. About the speaker: Gavin Francis qualified in medicine from Edinburgh in 1999, then spent ten years travelling, visiting all seven continents. He is the author of three books: True North, Travels in Arctic Europe (2008, 2010), Empire Antarctica, Ice, Silence & Emperor Penguins (2012) which was Scottish Book of the Year 2013 and shortlisted for the Costa, Ondaatje, Banff, & Saltire Prizes, & Adventures in Human Being (2015), which won Saltire Non-Fiction Book of the Year 2015, was the Observer's Science Book of the Year, and was a winner in the BMA Book Awards. He is a member of the Royal College of General Practitioners and the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, and lives and practises medicine in Edinburgh.
TThe runaway Goth At 16 she ran away with a married poet; at 21 she wrote Frankenstein, the definitive Gothic novel that spawned a whole new genre. The romance and tragedy of Mary Shelley's short life are well known, but what do we know of the woman herself? Through letters, diaries and records Fiona Sampson reveals the real woman behind the story. She uncovers a complex, generous character - friend, intellectual, lover and mother - trying to fulfil a passionate commitment to writing when to be a woman writer was an extraordinary and costly anomaly. Frankenstein 200. Book for any two of the following: Gavin Francis (15 July), Miranda Seymour (17 July) or Fiona Sampson (18 July) and receive a 25% discount on the second talk.
Mary Shelley, daughter of feminist Mary Wollstonecraft and revolutionary philosopher William Godwin, grew up in a house full of radicals. At sixteen she eloped with Percy Bysshe Shelley, embarking on a passionate relationship lived on the move across Britain and Europe. Before her early widowhood, Mary had already experienced debt, infidelity, orphanhood, and the deaths of three of her children. It was against this dramatic backdrop - and while she was still a teenager - that she composed the cultural landmark that is Frankenstein. In the process she created two of today's most enduring archetypes. Published to mark Frankenstein's bicentenary, Fiona Sampson's critically acclaimed new biography, In Search of Mary Shelley, sifts the evidence to find the real person behind the clichés. Fiona Sampson is a prizewinning poet and writer published in more than thirty languages. Her honours include an MBE for services to literature.

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