The Birds and the Bees…and Queer Cuttlefish!

Photo of Isabella Rossellini surrounded by paper animals
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  • From £5 – £10 Concessions available

Isabella Rossellini, Adam Rutherford, Lucy Cooke and Sabrina Imbler rethink animal sexuality

This event will take place at the British Library. It will be simultaneously live streamed on the British Library platform. Tickets may be booked either to attend in person (physical), or to watch on our platform (online) either live or within 48 hours on catch up. Viewing links will be sent out shortly before the event.

The online version of this event will be live captioned.

A new generation of researchers are uncovering bisexual penguins, lesbian albatross and gender-bending fish. Their discoveries show that animal sexuality is far more diverse than we once thought and has been limited by narrow human stereotypes of heterosexuality, monogamy and gender roles.   

Join our panel of authors, science communicators and iconic performers as they explore the rich and varied field of animal sexuality and celebrate nature in all its queerness.  

Chaired by geneticist, science writer, and broadcaster Adam Rutherford. 

Featuring an on-screen appearance by actor and now-naturalist Isabella Rossellini, who presents an exclusive selection of short films from her acclaimed ‘Green Porno’ and ‘Seduce Me’ projects, which bring together the science of animal reproduction, humour and performance. 

Zoologist Lucy Cooke discusses her recent book Bitch which has been described as ‘a joyous debunking of gender stereotypes in nature.’   

Sabrina Imbler, whose unique fusion of science and memoir My Life in Sea Creatures draws connections between fascinating animals of the deep and our own needs and desires.

Half price tickets available for Members, Students, Under 26s and other concession groups.

Follow @eventsBL on Twitter for the latest events updates.

This event accompanies The British Library’s exhibition Animals: Art, Science and Sound.

Isabella Rossellini is an Italian-American actress, author, philanthropist and model. As a model she appeared on magazine covers such as Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar and Vanity Fair. She appeared in numerous films including Il Prato (The Meadow), Blue Velvet, White Nights, Death Becomes Her, Fearless and Joy, working with directors Robert Zemeckis, David O. Russell, David Lynch, Marjane Satrapi and Guy Maddin. She completed a master’s degree in Animal Behaviour and Conservation at Hunter College which underpins her new one-woman theatre show Darwin’s Smile, and made an award-winning series of shorts: Green Porno, Seduce Me and Mammas offer. Isabella also runs an organic farm in Brookhaven, in association with the Peconic Land Trust. 

Dr Adam Rutherford is a geneticist, science writer, and broadcaster. He studied genetics at University College London, and during his PhD on the developing eye, he was part of a team that identified the first known genetic cause of a form of childhood blindness. He has written and presented many award-winning series and programmes for the BBC, including the flagship weekly Radio 4 programme Inside Science, BBC Four's The Cell and Horizon's Playing God. He is also the author of How to Argue With a Racist, an incisive guide to what modern genetics can and can’t tell us about human difference; A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived, finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in nonfiction; and Creation, on the origin of life and synthetic biology, which was shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize.

Lucy Cooke is a New York Times best-selling author, award-winning documentary filmmaker and broadcaster, National Geographic explorer and TED talker with a Masters in Zoology from Oxford university. Her latest book Bitch was named one of the 50 best books of 2022 by the Telegraph.

Sabrina Imbler is a writer and science journalist living in Brooklyn. Their first chapbook, Dyke (geology) was published by Black Lawrence Press, and this was followed by My Life in Sea Creatures in 2022. They have received numerous fellowships and scholarships in the US, including from the Asian American Writers' Workshop and Tin House and are the recipient of the Evert Clark/Seth Payne Award for young science journalists. Their essays and reporting have appeared in the New York Times, the Atlantic, Catapult, and Sierra, among other publications.

If you’re attending in person, please arrive no later than 15 minutes before the start time of this event. We are committed to the safety of our event bookers. Find out how we are welcoming you to the Library safely.

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Name: The Birds and the Bees…and Queer Cuttlefish!
Where: Pigott Theatre
The Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Price: From £5 – £10
Concessions available
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546
Book now

* Please note that there is a £1.50 transaction fee when tickets are posted, or for telephone sales when an e-ticket is requested.