A voyage of discovery, nature and untold histories – in the vein of Clare Wright, Edmund de Waal and Helen Macdonald.
When the first woman to circumnavigate the world completed her journey in 1775, she returned home without any fanfare at all. Jeanne Barret, an impoverished peasant from Burgundy, disguised herself as a man and sailed on the 1766 Bougainville voyage as the naturalist's assistant. For over two centuries, the story of who this young woman was, why she left her home to undertake such a perilous journey and what happened when she returned has been shrouded in uncertainty.
Biologist and award-winning author Danielle Clode embarks on a journey to solve the mysteries surrounding Jeanne Barret. From archives, herbariums and museums to untouched forests and open oceans, Clode's mission takes her from France and Mauritius to the Pacific Islands and New Guinea to reveal the previously untold full story of Jeanne's life as well as the achievements and challenges of her famous voyage. In Search of the Woman Who Sailed the World is an ode to the sea, to science and to one remarkable woman who, like all explorers, charted her own course for others to follow.
Danielle Clode is an award-winning author, biologist, and research fellow at Flinders University. She grew up on a boat, worked in zoos, museums and universities and has spent many years as a freelance researcher, editor, writer and teacher. Her first book on French exploration, Voyages to the South Seas, won the 2007 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Non-fiction, and most recently The Wasp and the Orchid was shortlisted for the 2019 National Biography Award.
– Shortlisted for the Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature Non-Fiction Award 2022
"Clode conjures a spellbinding tale of gender, empire, natural history – and the lure of the ocean."
– Yves Rees
"Seamlessly weaving together memoir, history and science [...] a fascinating and deeply affecting exploration of voyaging, women's lives, and the stories we tell and the stories we don't."
– James Bradley
"Biologist, historian, writer, Clode once again demonstrates the connectedness of everything – animals, land, people, plants, sea, sky – at a time when, more than ever, we should be acutely aware of it."
– Gay Lynch
"A joy to read, simple yet elegant, it whispers in your ear like the sea murmuring from within a shell."
– Kristin Weidenbach
"Danielle Clode unties the knots of myth and weaves a fascinating story of discovery; Jeanne Barret is one of history's most enigmatic explorers."
– Nick Brodie
"Clode brings a scientific rigour and a celebration of natural history to the biography of this important woman."
– Stephanie Parkyn