Anthology follows in the spirit of Rudyard Kipling

A NEW take on Rudyard Kipling will offer new hope to endangered species, thanks to a West Sussex wildlife campaigner.

Wednesday, 5th January 2011, 12:47 pm

Tamara Gray, who has campaigned against the illegal trade in endangered species since 1990. has brought together some of the world’s finest writers to produce Just When, an anthology in the spirit of Kipling’s Just So.

The book is published by Beautiful Books ( at £14.99; ISBN 9781905636204.

Writers including William Boyd, Hanif Kureishi and Michael Morpurgo have contributed a story to the collection in their own unique style about an animal of their choice

“It’s a book I have been working on for a number of years,” explains Tamara, who lives near Northchapel. “I have worked in wildlife conservation since I was 21 for some leading environmental organisations. I worked my way up through the ranks.

“When I moved down to Sussex and had my children, I wanted to do something again that was related to my area, the illegal wildlife trade. I was reading my son the Just So stories and it gave me the idea of Just When.”

When Kipling wrote his story of the rhinoceros with the itchy skin, rhino numbers stood at around 65,000. Today, fewer than 3,000 black rhinos survive. The same tragic story goes for too many other animals.

“I started writing to authors asking them if they would, with a nod to Kipling, write a story about an endangered animal, completely in their own style. The first writer I wrote to was William Boyd and he has written a story about a chimp which has now gone into the book.”

Tamara was keen to reach out to authors in India, Sri Lanka, America and New Zealand so that they would be writing about animals close to their home.

The resulting volume contains works by Raffaella Barker, William Boyd, Karen Connelly, Anthony Doerr, Nirmal Ghosh, Romesh Gunesekera, Witi Ihimaera, Radhika Jha, Hanif Kureishi, Antonia Michaelis, Michael Morpurgo, Jin Pyn Lee, Lauren St John, Shaun Tan, Kate Thompson, Nury Vittachi, Angela Young.

The title Just When Stories asks the questions: when will the irrational and cruel destruction of wildlife stop? And when will we take action to make it stop? Estimated at between $6 and $20 billion a year by Interpol, the illegal wildlife trade has drastically reduced numerous wildlife populations and currently has some teetering on the brink of extinction.

Accompanying the book is the release of audiobook version including readings from David Tennant, Martin Jarvis, Hugh Bonneville, Romola Garai and Eddie Redmayne.

All profits from the sales of the book and associated media formats will be donated in full to WildAid and the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation.