Aarathi is the author of A Natural History of Silk (The Bristol Art Library, 2019); In the Bonesetter's Waiting Room: travels through Indian medicine (Profile / Hachette, 2016) which was featured as BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week, won the Popular Medicine Award at the BMA Awards 2017, and was long-listed for the Jhalak Prize (2017); and Like A Virgin: how science is redesigning the rules of sex (Oneworld, 2012), which was short-listed for the Salon Transmission Prize (2014) and translated into Dutch, Italian, and Bulgarian, Arabic and Japanese (read about the book here). She was a contributing author to the short fiction series Tales on Tweet (2016) and What's Next? : Even Scientists Can’t Predict the Future – Or Can They? (Profile, 2017), edited by Professor Jim Al-Khalili; and has written for the New York Times, Litro, the Guardian, Prospect, Wired, The Lancet, Huffington Post blogs, Vogue, Elle, The Telegraph and Scientific American.
Praise for Like a Virgin:
“A hugely successful braid of reproductive biology, history of science, and politics, this is science writing that will keep you up past your bedtime.” New Scientist
“Prasad’s first book is a fascinating, topical and hugely readable investigation”, Metro
“Fiery and provocative”, Sunday Times
“...her book, Like A Virgin, is exploring a fundamentally serious theme, and one at the heart of Western liberal thinking.” Daily Mail
“...fertility is, quite simply, a complex process that involves more than you might imagine. Regardless, Prasad’s humorous and anecdote-laden approach sweeps the reader along.” BBC Focus
“Think you know the birds and the bees? Prasad’s whip-smart, eye-popping book takes us on a journey into the heart of gender and reproduction—a journey whose strange history is matched only by its unexpected future.”
David Eagleman, Neuroscientist, Author of Incognito and Sum
“Aarathi Prasad has travelled far into the mysterious land of human and animal conception and come back with extraordinary stories of chimaeras and parthenogens, of cannibal sharks in the womb, of pseudosperm and the prospect of birth without pregnancy. A fascinating book.”
Matt Ridley, bestselling author of The Red Queen
Praise for In the Bonesetter’s Waiting Room:
“…a fascinating investigation into healthcare in India…With vivid anecdotes…this is a revealing study of Indian medicine, ancient and modern.” Daily Mail
“...a fascinating book about medicine in India”, Observer
"With a biographer’s eye for detail and a novelist’s comprehension of the creative process, Aarathi masterfully allows her characters and their stories to speak for themselves. The narrative of these tales is exceptionally lucid and the detail always vivid. From neuroscience to ‘jungle berries, ancient formulae to e-health, royal wrestlers to pioneering heart surgery’— these are the tales about medicine in rapidly changing India." The Tribune
“Aarathi Prasad...sets out to explore the extraordinary diversity of, and desperation within, India's sprawling health system. Through a series of beautifully observed vignettes...she investigates India's “ancient world of medicine”. Prasad discovers both inspiration and degradation.” Lancet
“a focused and fascinating journey.” Nature
“A vivid, personal and panoramic journey through the health and beliefs of one fifth of humanity. Timely, fluent and packed with inspirational characters.” Gavin Francis
Aarathi has written and presented a number of science documentaries for radio and television, including Brave New World and Science of the Future with Stephen Hawking (Discovery and National Geographic Channels), Tomorrow's World (BBC 1), Is it Better to be Mixed Race? (Channel 4), the 4thought film Should We Raise Children in Mixed Marriages?, On skin colour and being British (for Channel4 News), Serpentine Galleries: Miracle Marathon, and Rewinding the Menopause and Quest for Virgin Birth (BBC Radio 4).
Aarathi regularly speaks at literary and science festivals (Croatia, Dartington, Dundee, Edinburgh, Hay, Jaipur, Mumbai, Sofia, Split, York, Sheffield International Documentary Festival, and others) and at universities, learned & professional societies and businesses.
She also teaches non-fiction writing and has been a judge for the Science and Natural History category of the Royal Television Society's Programme Awards, for Cheltenham Science Festival / British Council's FameLab International, and Google Science Fair.
Recent and upcoming talks:
Reproductive Futures, New College of the Humanities, London, January 2020
Silk Interactions, University of the Arts London MA Art and Science, June 2019
Experiencing Space University College London, May 2019
Mourning: different times, different forms Università Roma Tre, May 2019
Making the leap to narrative journalism for Al-Fanar Media, Edinburgh, April 2019
Jaipur Literary Festival, January 2019
Artificial Intelligence - Can AI save the world? Royal Institution, October 2018
Vulnerability: Hermes Consortium for Literary and Cultural Studies Rome June 2018
5x15 Bodies, Norwich May 2018
Reproductive Health and Parental Responsibility Rome April 2018
1001 Cures: Contributions in Medicine and Healthcare from Muslim Civilisation Royal Society, London March 2018
Inclusive Memory, Studi avanzati di educazione Museale, Roma Tre Rome March 2018
The Knowledge: India Illuminated, Science Museum London February 2018
India - Traditions of Healing, Wellcome Collection London January 2018
TATA Literature Live, Mumbai November 2017
What's next: Visions of the future, Royal Institution London October 2017
Fisher Scientific Science World, Millbrook September 2017
Difficult Dialogues, Goa February 2017
Jaipur Literary Festival, January 2017
Aarathi was born in London to an Indian mother and Trinidadian father and was educated in the West Indies and in the UK. She holds a PhD in molecular genetics (Imperial College London), and a postgraduate certificate in osteo-archaeology (University of Reading). She has worked in scientific research (Imperial College London, University College London), policy, and communication (House of Commons, British Council).
Aarathi is currently a Research Fellow at the Institute of Global Health, University College London, where she researches the impacts of urban development on the environment and on people's health, mostly from informal 'slum' settlements in Kenya. In her spare time she studies human remains at archaeological excavations, most recently at the ‘dark’ side of Vesuvius, an ancient infant cemetery in Greece, and a necropolis in Rome.
(Photo: Tara Lumley-Savile)