Curiosity_hardcover ” . . . the human mind and heart excavated with delicate and devastating skill.” — Marina Endicott 

“Curiosity is a delight. Set with marvels and rueful comedy, it’s a warmly intelligent feat of historical sympathy. Mary Anning, with her dead-reckoning gaze, moves through these pages like a muddy-booted angel.” — Greg Hollingshead.

In 1812, a 12 year-old girl dug the skeleton of what she thought was a dragon out of the cliff on an English beach. Mary Anning was poor and barely literate. Her astonishing find–– a thirty-foot Ichthyosaur from the Jurassic Period—turned the science of the day upside down and set the course of Mary’s life.

Set in Lyme Regis, Dorset, 40 years before Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, Curiosity tells the story of “the fossil girl” and her relationship with the gentry who stream to Lyme Regis in the wake of her fossil find. It’s a foray into an alien culture for Mary, who has only her own steady sense of self to guide her.

Henry de la Beche is the heir to a sugar plantation and has been shaped in unexpected ways by his childhood in Jamaica. In Lyme Regis he meets the solitary, determined, forthright Mary, and finds something his own experience has denied him. In the years when no one in England is talking about evolution, Mary Anning and Henry De la Beche find social convention, science, and religion inadequate to their experience and grope their way towards a private understanding.

Curiosity was edited by Lara Hinchberger. Designs by Terri Nimmo (hardcover) and Scott Richardson (paperback). It is published by McClelland and Stewart, 2010 (Canada) and Emblem Books, 2011 (Canada, US, UK)

Nominated for the International IMPAC-Dublin Literary Award

Longlisted for the 2010 Scotia Bank Giller Prize

Shortlisted for the McNally Robinson Book of the Year

Shortlisted for the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction

A Quill and Quire Book of the Year 2010

A Book of the Month,


The Walrus, May 21010. Review by Karen Luscombe (scroll down).

Quill and Quire, October 2010. Reviewed by Ami Sands Brodoff. Q&Q review.

Winnipeg Free Press. September 2010. Reviewed by Bob Armstrong. Curiosity Free Press review