Charles Foster

Sunday 26th - 10.30


Charles Foster is a Fellow of Green Templeton College, University of Oxford.

His books cover many fields. They include books on travel, evolutionary biology, natural history, anthropology, theology, archaeology, philosophy and law. Ultimately they are all attempts to answer the questions ‘Who or what are we?’, and ‘what on earth are we doing here?

His latest non-academic book is ‘Being a Beast’, which is published in the UK by Profile Books and in the US by Metropolitan Books. It is a New York Times Bestseller, was long-listed for the Baillie Gifford Prize and the Wainwright Prize, won the Deux Million d’Amis literary prize (France) and is the subject of a forthcoming feature film made by Sovereign Films. Foster won an IgNobel Prize for Biology for the work in the book.

In 2021 ‘The Screaming Sky’, about swifts, will be published by Little Toller, and ‘Being a Human: Adventures in 40,000 Years of Consciousness’, will be published by Profile and Metropolitan. ‘The Siege’ will be published by Profile in 2022.

His writing has appeared in many publications including the Guardian, the Spectator, National Geographic, BBC Wildlife magazine, Time Out, the Daily Telegraph, the Independent, the Oldie and the Literary Review. A full list of publications is on this website.

His current academic interests relate mainly to the relevance of identity and personhood in decision-making, and to whether the notion of dignity can do any real work at the philosophical coal-face.

He read veterinary medicine and law at Cambridge, and is a qualified veterinary surgeon. He holds a PhD in law/bioethics from the University of Cambridge.

He teaches Medical Law and Ethics at the University of Oxford, and is a Visiting Professor and a member of the Oxford University Law Faculty. His Faculty page is here. He is a Senior Research Associate at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, and a Research Associate at the Ethox Centre and the HeLEX Centre, all at the University of Oxford. He retains an active interest in veterinary medicine – particularly veterinary acupuncture and general wildlife and large animal medicine. He is a member of the Council of the Association of British Veterinary Acupuncturists.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a Fellow of the Linnean Society.

He is married, with six children, and lives in Oxford and a remote part of the southern Peloponnese.