Eve: How The Female Body Drove 200 Million Years of Human Evolution by Cat Bohannon answers questions scientists should have been addressing for decades.

Longlisted for the 2024 Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction judge Professor Nicola Rollock had this to say about the book: ‘A captivating and engaging read about the evolution of the female body.’

To find out more about the book we spoke to Cat about her writing, research and current reads.


by Cat Bohannon

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Describe your book in one sentence as if you were telling a friend.

This is a book about what we really are and where we really come from and how on Earth we got here, which took roughly 200 million years.

Did you have any revelation moments when writing your book? When the narrative and your objectives all fell into place?

When I understood that the chapters needed to be ordered in time, not simply as a narrative device, but precisely because that’s why we study rats in labs in the first place–that there is an assumption of conservation, that what we find in a female rat’s body will likely have its parallels in our own, held in place deep in our bodily architecture over time. Which is also very much why our story, as female human beings, has been erased at the root by failing to study these things, and why these new discoveries are actually rewriting the story of womanhood from the bottom up.

What is the one thing you’d like a reader to take away from reading your book?

You are already the best authority on what it’s been like to live in your body. No one can tell you what it is to be you. This book exists to give you some new language to use. New roots of the story. New frames of understanding of the many things you already deeply know. New weapons for the good fight, too. It also has a lot of jokes.

Which other female non-fiction writers inspire you and why? Any particular title?

Rebecca Solnit. Saidiya Hartman. Barbara Ehrenreich. Sarah Blaffer Hrdy. Anne Carson. Leslie Marmon Silko. The list is too long to do completely! All of my favorite writers are engaged in that sacred task: rendering the invisible visible, which is always asymptotic, and always an act of rebellion–this way we keep insisting yes, we are alive.

What is the best piece of writing advice you have ever received?

If you’re scared, that’s good. Follow that.

What book is currently on your nightstand?

Teju Cole, Tremor.