A Drink with the Idler: Merlin Sheldrake

Join the Idler for a chat with biologist Merlin Sheldrake, Idler editor Tom Hodgkinson and philosopher Mark Vernon

Your hosts will be Idler magazine editor Tom Hodgkinson and Idler Academy director Victoria Hull.

We’ll have philosophical comment on the week from Dr Mark Vernon and the discussion will be followed by a live Q&A.

This event is free for Idler subscribers and students.

It is an online event. Bring your friends. It should be like meeting up in the pub for an interesting conversation. We leave the meeting open at the end so you can carry on chatting.

About the speaker:

Merlin Sheldrake is a biologist and a writer with a background in plant sciences, microbiology, ecology, and the history and philosophy of science. He received a Ph.D. in tropical ecology from Cambridge University for his work on underground fungal networks in tropical forests in Panama, where he was a predoctoral research fellow of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Merlin is a keen brewer and fermenter, and is fascinated by the relationships that arise between humans and more-than-human organisms. Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Words, Change Our Minds and Shape Our Futures is his first book.

Praise for Entangled Life

“This book may not be a psychedelic… but reading it left me not just moved but altered, eager to disseminate its message of what fungi can do.” THE NEW YORK TIMES

“A gorgeous book of literary nature writing… food for the soul.” THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

“A dazzling, vibrant, vision-changing book. This is a remarkable work by a remarkable writer.” Robert Macfarlane, author of Underland

Testimonials from previous Idler Drinks

Thanks very much, it was fun and a lovely change in these strange times of isolation!

That was great, thank you so much and now looking forward to next week !! Wonderful to have this in my empty social diary !!!  Stay well and well done to you all !! Best, Inga 

Absolutely fascinating talk with John Lloyd this evening, he was so interesting and open. An honesty that was unexpected but very welcomed by me. I loved it all. Thank you so much, I look forward to this hour every week I can’t tell you how much. Jo 

Loving The Academy! It’s the closest thing I’ll ever have to going to Summerhill! 

LOVING the Zooms, what a great way to interact, please keep this going. Frederic

Such a great drinks party last night! 

The discussion, your fabulous backdrop, the sound, the guests – everything was spot on and we loved it! It flowed well, was really interesting and was a real highlight of the week.

Another lovely Zoom drinks with you all! So pleased you have streamed it as I have told my children and they will watch and hopefully join too! Keep well and thanks again for this great opportunity to join in and enjoy the chat.

Just wanted to thank you yet again for another fascinating and enjoyable Thursday night drink. These are rapidly turning into the absolute high point of my week. Looking forward already to next week’s. Georgina Newson

There’s something very effective about running an event like this via Zoom. This may sound odd, but It all feels very intimate and immediate, possibly more so than were all 200 of us there in person. To me, it became especially evident when the conversation veered off into a one to one chat between John and the ‘audience’ member (Ian?). In other circumstances this probably wouldn’t have happened and, if it had, it probably wouldn’t have worked. In this set up it became genuinely interesting as John began questioning Ian and, as a viewer it all felt very natural. Last Thursday evening I walked out of my shed (where I watched it) feeling mentally refreshed, inspired and intellectually satisfied! Many thanks to Victoria, John, Mark and yourself for putting this together.

Eternal thanks for presenting us with a cheerier path. Liam Dawson

I just want to say how very much I look forward to the Idler drink each week. All your guests are so interesting and funny and completely hit the spot for me on so many levels. I sit hiding in our bedroom, the only quiet place in the house, with red wine, and pad and pen to quickly scribble down bits and bobs that I’d like to look up afterwards. I feel cheered and relaxed after and ready to continue homeschooling my 2 bairns the next day free from worries of not earning a bean and partner being a London copper, even just for a few hours at least. 

Since joining you for a drink, I’ve also subscribed to a history course and the magazine, in all its shiny glory, which I also indulgently read with a tea and a Crunchie, being the best Idler I can be and savouring each page and honeycombed bite. 

Really enjoyed it – thank you so much!

Thank you that was great! Really personal and interesting. 

Thanks so much and for another fun hour to look forward to especially during this lockdown episode of our lives!

Another fabulous session at the Idler bar, lively discussion and thoughtful insights 🙂 It continues to be brilliant with such a great breadth of topics. Chris

Amazingly uplifting real inspiring chat! 

Another great evening.

Another wonderful drinks with the Idler. Thank you all so much! It’s definitely a highlight of my lockdown week! I appreciate all the effort that must go into making it actually happen. Inga

Thanks for another fantastic evening. Murray was brilliant and Mark’s philosophy on the current state of affairs was inspirational. Dream team. Viv

I have been enjoying the relaxed atmosphere of these ‘drinks’ – thanks to you, Tom and Mark.

Loving my Lockdown Thursdays – it’s the start of my weekend,  I work part-time Tuesday to Thursday. Get home, get a drink and join everyone.


Date: Thursday 8 October 2020

Time: 6pm-7pm

Location: Online via Zoom link

Cost: Donation requested. Free for Idler subscribers and students.

How to join: Register by clicking the ‘GET TICKETS’ button above