5 Things We Learned about Steve Backshall from Authors Live

Steve Backshall at Authors Live
Category: Reading

Steve Backshall, naturalist, writer and Deadly 60 presenter took part in an Authors Live event on Thursday 12 June. Steve shared many wonderful adventure stories and offered tips on how to conserve our lovely planet. You can watch the whole event on demand right here, but for the time-pressed, here are five headline soundbites in a handy recap form:


1. Steve has visited more countries than anyone we know

"Well, it depends on how you draw the boundaries, because there are lots of different ways that you can quantify how many countries there are in the world. On the most conservative level I've been to 105, but there are something like 260, maybe even more, countries than that in the entire world. So I'm not halfway there, I'm not even close to halfway there."

Steve, you're a lot closer than any of us.


2. He once ran a marathon in sole-melting conditions

"I did a race called the Marathon des Sables in Morocco in 2005. We ran 160 miles across the Sahara on this race, and the hottest temperature that we had recorded was 54 degrees centigrade. Fifty four! It's not the hottest temperature that's ever been recorded on earth, there have been about four or five degrees hotter than that recorded. But it's the hottest that I've ever experienced and it was horrific. The soles of people's shoes were melting. So yes, that's the hottest I've been to."


3. Steve’s main tip for conservation is...

The important thing is to not to try and bite off too much too soon... start with your own life and with changing your own habits

"The important thing is to not to try and bite off too much too soon. The important thing is to start basically with your own life and with changing your own habits in your home, in your school, and then maybe with a couple of people around you turning off lights, not using too much water, recycling. And then I would say if you decide that if this is going to be the life for you start doing things like volunteering for your local wildlife charities."


Steve Backshall signing books - photo by Alan Peebles
4. He has some great advice for aspiring writers

"Keep a diary or keep a notebook. I would say that any of you out there who are thinking about writing, keeping a diary is just essential. And the reason it's essential is that if you're writing a story, the big things, the important things, you're always going to remember them. I'm always going to remember swimming out of a cage with a great white shark. I might not remember the smell of the aftershave of the captain on the boat before I went in, or the fact that we were slopping around in fish guts on the deck just as we were trying to slip in the cage. Those are the things that make it into a story and those are the things that make it interesting to read, and make books appear."


5. His favourite childhood book was very appropriate

"Call of the Wild by Jack London. Even just thinking about it now puts the hackles up on the back of my neck. It's the story of a big pet dog that is kidnapped during the gold rush. He’s turned into a sled dog up in the Yukon. So there’s this transition from being a slightly overweight, pampered dog into a hardened dog running alongside Alaskan huskies up in the harshest environments on earth. The story just totally bewitched me when I was young and it really completely changed my life. So that, yeah, was definitely my favourite book."


6. His favourite animal is a-

Hey, we said five! Fret not, you can find out for yourself. It’s available here, on the Watch On Demand page alongside all other Authors Live events.

Remember Steve's tip, we can all make small changes. Please remember to turn off your computer when you've finished. Not only will you save pennies but you'll be playing your part in saving your planet and after all, it is a wonderful place to live!