Professor Barbara J. King (USA)

Barbara J. King is emerita professor of anthropology at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, USA, and now is a full-time freelance science writer.

She has studied baboon foraging in Kenya, and gorilla and bonobo communication in captive settings in the United States. In recent years, Barbara has focused on studies of animal emotion and issues of animal welfare more broadly, including those related to wildlife, zoo-confined animals, farmed animals and animal companions.

Awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for her work in 2002, Barbara has written or edited many books on anthropology and animal behavior. Her latest, published in 2013, is How Animals Grieve, which has been translated into Japanese, Portuguese, French (winning a book prize), and Hebrew. In spring 2017, her new book Personalities on the Plate: The Lives and Minds of Animals We Eat will be published.

King's essay on animal mourning in Scientific American was chosen for inclusion in The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2014. She blogs each week for National Public Radio's 13.7 Cosmos and Culture blog, and writes regularly about books for the TLS. She’s a frequent guest on national and international radio shows (she has appeared multiple times on the BBC and twice on the Diane Rehm Show including in 2016 when she argued it’s time to rethink zoos) discussing matters of animal cognition, emotion, and welfare.

Barbara is active on twitter @bjkingape, and her personal website is here. She can best be contacted at