Rebecca Priestley 

Associate professor Rebecca Priestley, from Victoria University of Wellington, was the Listener science columnist for six years and is author or editor of six books.

She won the Royal Society of New Zealand Science Book Prize (2009) and the Prime Minister’s Science Communication Prize (2016). She has degrees in geology, history of science and creative writing. 


2021 festival session

Fifteen Million Years in Antarctica 

- in conversation with Nikki Macdonald

Should we be paralysed by fear or optimistic for the world future generations will inherit? Rebecca experiences both emotions in her eco-memoir, Fifteen Million Years in Antarctica, reflecting on her three visits to Antarctica. The book was praised by reviewers and longlisted for the general non-fiction award at the 2020 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.

She discusses the science carried out in Antarctica; her awe for the landscape and wildlife; and her concerns and hope for the future. 


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