Michael Sims


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Michael Sims (born February 17, 1958, in Crossville, TN) is an American nonfiction writer. His books include Darwin's Orchestra (1997), Adam's Navel (2003), Apollo’s Fire (2007), In the Womb: Animals (2009), and The Story of Charlotte's Web (2011). He is also an anthologist and editor of several volumes of Victorian and Edwardian fiction and poetry. Born in rural eastern Tennessee, near the small town of Crossville, Sims has described in interviews how he grew up in a household without a telephone, an automobile, or, at times, indoor plumbing. 

He spent his teenage years in a wheelchair because of rheumatic arthritis following an attack of rheumatic fever. Although Robert Macfarlane in the Sunday Times (London) said that Sims "is clearly the beneficiary of a wide-ranging American liberal-arts education," actually, Sims did not attend university. But he developed a preoccupation with literature, art, and nature in childhood, themes that dominate his adult work.

Sims published his first book, Darwin's Orchestra, in 1997, about which Martin Gardner wrote, "Sims's range is awesome." But it was Sims's second book, Adam's Navel: A Natural and Cultural History of the Human Form, in 2003 that established his reputation as an original and witty observer of the natural world. Published simultaneously in the U.S. and England, it was chosen as a Library Journal Best Science Book and a New York Times Notable Book. 

In 2007 Viking published Apollo's Fire: A Day on Earth in Nature and Imagination, which National Public Radio chose as one of the year's best science books. In 2009 National Geographic Books published In the Womb: Animals, a companion book to two installments of the acclaimed In the Womb series on the National Geographic Channel.

Sims's writing has been published in many periodicals, including the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New Statesman, Chronicle of Higher Education, Gourmet, Orion, and American Archaeology. He has appeared on many radio and television programs, including a multi-part documentary about women's bodies on BBC Radio 4's popular program Woman's Hour and The Early Show on CBS and Inside Edition.

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