Mike Unwin is a writer who specialises in natural history and conservation. In addition to The Atlas of Birds, he is the author of The Bradt Guide to Southern African Wildlife, 100 Bizarre Animals and the RSPB Introduction to Birdwatching. Among his numerous educational books for children are Climate Change, The RSPB Children’s Guide to Birdwatching and Endangered Species.
Unwin also writes regularly for numerous newspapers and magazines, including the Independent, BBC Wildlife, Wanderlust, High Life, Bird Watching and Travel Africa, and is editor of Travel Zambia magazine. His writing has won him awards including BBC Wildlife Travel Writer of the Year (2000), the British Guild of Travel Writers’ Best Overseas Feature (2008), the LATA (Latin American Travel Association) Travel Writer of the Year (2010), third place in the AITO Travel Writer of the Year (2011) and, most recently, the British Guild of Travel Writers’ Best UK Feature (2011) and Travel Writer of the Year (2013). He has appeared on Excess Baggage and Traveller’s Tree (BBC Radio 4), and is a regular speaker at travel and wildlife events.
In addition, Unwin’s artwork has appeared on murals, greeting cards and book jackets, and he has illustrated a number of books and magazines. His photographs are widely published, with some appearing in The Atlas of Birds.
Now based in Brighton, Unwin spent almost eight years living and working in southern Africa, first as a teacher and later as an educational publisher. His extensive firsthand knowledge of Africa, its people and its wildlife, is central to much of his work. More recently, writing assignments have taken him to destinations as diverse as the Arctic and the Amazon.
Although a graduate in English Literature, Unwin’s first love has always been natural history – especially birds. He has been a volunteer warden for the RSPB and co-founder of the Swaziland Bird Club, and completed a three-month stint in the bush with Zambia’s South Luangwa Conservation Society. When not stuck at his desk he spends as much time as possible in the field, whether counting frogs in Swaziland or corn buntings on the South Downs.