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UW Biology Book Club Autumn 2021

Newsletter issue:

Join the UW Biology Book Club this autumn quarter as we read H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald. This book club is open to everyone in the department--undergraduates, graduates, post-docs, staff, and faculty! We will have two Zoom meetings to discuss the book during autumn quarter. This is a no-pressure book club; please join in the conversation even if you haven't read the book. Please email Sheryl Medrano ( for Zoom link to discussions.

Book club dates:

  • Wednesday, December 1, 2021, from 3:30-4:30 PM

When Helen Macdonald’s father died suddenly on a London street, she was devastated. An experienced falconer—Helen had been captivated by hawks since childhood—she’d never before been tempted to train one of the most vicious predators, the goshawk. But in her grief, she saw that the goshawk’s fierce and feral temperament mirrored her own. Resolving to purchase and raise the deadly creature as a means to cope with her loss, she adopted Mabel, and turned to the guidance of The Once and Future King author T.H. White’s chronicle The Goshawk to begin her challenging endeavor. Projecting herself “in the hawk’s wild mind to tame her” tested the limits of Macdonald’s humanity and changed her life.

Heart-wrenching and humorous, this book is an unflinching account of bereavement and a unique look at the magnetism of an extraordinary beast, with a parallel examination of a legendary writer’s eccentric falconry. Obsession, madness, memory, myth, and history combine to achieve a distinctive blend of nature writing and memoir from an outstanding literary innovator.