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Collins Gem Magic Tricks (Collins Gems) Paperback – October 3, 1996

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Originally a marine biologist, I continue to write about the marine world while specialising in academic writing and learning development at university level. I teach writing at several UK universities, lead an international special interest group on science writing, and work for the Royal Literary Fund to train UK writers to teach in universities.

My love of language and learning shines through, I hope, in all my teaching and writing. My latest book is Success in Academic Writing published in November 2013 by Palgrave Macmillan. In that book I offer many practical tips and strategies to help and inspire students to write powerfully and productively, not just for academic purposes but to apply throughout their lives.

As for my books aimed at demystifying the natural world, those about sharks, dolphins, whales, coral reefs and volcanoes are particularly popular. As a writer, I believe that scholarly knowledge needs to go hand in hand with direct experience of the natural world. With that in mind, I've travelled widely and scuba dived in many places - Australia, South Africa, the Galapagos Islands, the Maldives, and the Mediterranean and Caribbean Seas.

I am passionate about revealing how the health of the oceans is vital to our lives. A big fan of sharks, I'm sickened at the millions that are killed each year to supply the shark-fin trade. I've dived with several so-called 'man-eating' species, finding them fascinating rather than life-threatening. Of course, there is the odd very rare exception. When diving alongside a shoal of sardines off South Africa, eight bronze whaler sharks were more interested in us than the sardines. They chased us out of the water!

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