Margaret Drabble says she didn’t know much about hard science when she chaired the judging panel of this year’s Aventis Science Book Prize. But now the science books she read are influencing her writing:
Some of these ideas have already infiltrated my work-in-progress and I may have to weed them all out again. In my recent novel, The Peppered Moth, I took my title and central metaphor from one of the more captivating stories of biology, a Northern tale of natural selection and industrial melanism. It is a story that is resisted and deeply hated by creationists. I also (with the help of Brian Sykes) invented a subplot about maternal heredity and mitochondrial DNA. And I invented a charismatic geneticist, a man of fire and wire and sinew, whose grey hair bounds upwards from his brow in exuberant curls.