March 2, 2021

David Quammen Banner

NYU DC Dialogues and NYU Florence welcomed critically acclaimed science journalist David Quammen, author of Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic (2012). In conversation with Professor of Journalism and Pediatrics at NYU and co-director of NYU Florence Perri Klass, David discussed viruses, animal infections, evolution, and the times we’re living through.

Spillover is a work of science reporting, history, and travel, tracking this subject around the world.  For five years, I shadowed scientists into the field--a rooftop in Bangladesh, a forest in the Congo, a Chinese rat farm, a suburban woodland in Duchess County, New York-and through their high-biosecurity laboratories.  I interviewed survivors and gathered stories of the dead.  I found surprises in the latest research, alarm among public health officials, and deep concern in the eyes of researchers. I tried hard to deliver the science, the history, the mystery, and the human anguish as page-turning drama.

The subject raises urgent questions.  Are these events independent misfortunes, or linked?  Are they merely happening to us, or are we somehow causing them?  What can be done?   But this book is intended to be more than a work of reportage.  It's also the tale of a quest, through time and landscape, for a new understanding of how the world works.

NYU Florence

NYU DC Dialogues

David Quammen

David Quammen

Perri Klass

Perri Klass

Recent articles by David Quammen

The Virus, the Bats and Us  – The New York Times
Did Pangolin Trafficking Cause the Coronavirus Pandemic? – The New Yorker
How Viruses Shape Our World – National Geographic

David Quammen’s fifteen books include The Tangled Tree, The Song of the DodoThe Reluctant Mr. Darwin, and Spillover, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award. He has written for Harper’s, The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, The New York Times Book Review, Outside, and Powder, among other magazines, and is a contributing writer for National Geographic. He wrote the entire text of the May 2016 issue of National Geographic on the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem—the first time in the history of the magazine that an issue was single-authored. Quammen shares a home in Bozeman, Montana, with his wife, Betsy Gaines Quammen, an environmental historian, along with two Russian wolfhounds and a cross-eyed cat. Visit him at DavidQuammen.com. 

The NYU Washington, DC Salon Series: Conversations with Writers & Artists presents an opportunity for the NYU and Washington, DC community to meet and engage in dialogue with acclaimed writers and artists as they reflect on their craft. This program provides facilitated conversations that aim to illuminate the guests’ creative processes, discuss their current works, and explain the impact of their work on the world around us. The Salon Series is made possible by NYU Washington, DC through the collaboration of NYU schools, departments and centers, as well as through special relationships with selected external organizations.