Finding Joy in the Unknown an interview with Dara McAnulty

“I don’t know what the future will be, but I absolutely know that things that give us joy in this world, especially the natural world, are essential for everything.”

Dara McAnulty is a teenage autistic author, naturalist, and conservationist from Northern Ireland. After several years of writing his blog, Naturalist Dara, he published his debut book, Diary of a Young Naturalist, when he was fourteen years old. The book won the 2020 Wainwright Prize for Nature Writing and Book of the Year for the Narrative Non-fiction British Book Awards in 2021.

In this interview, Emergence Executive Editor Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee speaks to Dara—now seventeen years old—about his book and his approach to living a life immersed in and guided by the living world. Wise beyond his years, Dara discusses his identity as an autistic person, the solace and comfort he has always found in nature, the role of the artist in envisioning a different future, and the great necessity of staying rooted in joy.
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