Sanjida O’Connell

Non-fiction writer, Novelist

Sanjida O’Connell is an award-winning novelist and non-fiction writer. Her forthcoming novel is a psychological thriller called Bone by Bone, published by Corvus Books. Her previous two novels were historical fiction, The Naked Name of Love and Sugar Island, which were published by John Murray, and her earlier novels, Angel Bird and Theory of Mind, were published by Black Swan. Sanjida was an award-winner for the Betty Trask prize for romantic fiction in 1997; she has also been highly commended forYoung Telegraph writer of the year, nominated for Asian woman of the year, and runner-up for the Asian literary prize.

Sanjida has had four non-fiction books published, including Sugar: the grass that changed the world (Virgin Books), and has contributed to a number of encyclopaedias on animal intelligence. She writes about science and environmental issues for national newspapers and magazines, has been an editor and writer at New Scientist, and wrote a blog for the Independent newspaper on dressing ethically for a year. She has been the television reviewer for BBC Wildlife magazine and had a science column in the Times newspaper.

Sanjida initially trained as a zoologist and studied chimpanzees for her PhD. Alongside her writing career, she presented wildlife and science documentaries and directed science documentaries for the BBC, including BBC2’s flagship science strand, Horizon. Sanjida lives in Bristol.

Dr Sanjida O’Connell is an award-winning writer and broadcaster. She studied zoology at the University of Bristol before completing a PhD at University College London. She’s written scientific papers, numerous feature articles for national newspapers and magazines, scripts for TV documentaries, contributed to encyclopaedias and had columns in The Times, The Independent and BBC Wildlife magazine. Sanjida’s had twelve books published, including four works of non-fiction, four works of literary fiction and four thrillers. She was shortlisted for Asian Woman of the Year in 2004. Sanjida was a wildlife presenter for the BBC and now writes and teaches creative writing for the Arvon Foundation and the charity, First Story.

As a Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow, for four years at the University of Bristol she mentored students with their academic writing. She currently works as an Advisory Fellow, mentoring RLF Writing Fellows across the south-west.

Sanjida focuses on developing workshops tailored to specific academic client groups. She’s particularly interested in helping academics and post-doctoral students from scientific disciplines to structure and plan their work, write clearly and concisely and adopt a narrative framework to communicate their research to their peers as well as to a non-academic audience.

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Sanjida O'Connell

Sanjida O’Connell

Non-fiction writer, Novelist


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  • University of Bristol, Beacon House, 2016–2018
  • University of Bristol, Arts, 2014–2016
  • Consultant Fellow