The Ocean's Skin

The Ocean's Skin (c) Philip Hoare

The Ocean's Skin

Location: Venue Cymru, The Promenade, Llandudno, Conwy, LL30 1BB
Philip Hoare, prize-winning author, explores how we humans relate to the sea's natural history – this year’s Lacey Lecture, 9 November, Venue Cymru.

Event details


18:30 - 21:00
A static map of The Ocean's Skin

About the event

Tickets are on sale now from NWWT’s Llys Garth office and your local branch at £11.50 (limited numbers available), or £13.50 directly from Venue Cymru booking office. Please do join us on Friday 9 November – doors open at 18:30 for a 19:00 start! Enjoy some refreshments, discover more about the amazing work of the Trust; and pick up a special wildlife Christmas gift from our visiting shop!


Phone number

01492 872000



Groups 10+ 10% off

Ticket price includes a £1.50 administration fee

Know before you go


No dogs permitted

Wheelchair access

Venue Cymru is an accessible venue and we offer a range of facilities to meet visitors' requirements.

Parking information

There is a dropping off point at the main entrance with plenty of room to disembark safely. In the car park at the rear of the building (Mostyn Broadway) there are 18 designated disabled parking spaces; parking is free for disabled badge holders within t


Disabled toilet

Contact us

Bleddyn Williams
Contact number: 01248 351 541

“The sea is our future. It is our past, too – the most vital yet unknown aspect part of our relationship with the natural world.  Most weighty of all in that story is the vast shape of the whale.  From myth to industrial resource to symbol of ecological fragility, its huge yet oddly absent presence mirrors the way our attitudes to the sea have changed.  'We cannot imagine a time that is oceanless', wrote , T.S. Eliot.  Yet when Herman Melville declared of the whale, 'I know him not, and never will', he seemed to be forecasting our fated history with the sea itself, and our inability to know it.  We could not live without the ocean, and yet we seem to turn our backs on it.”

Philip Hoare, a frequent visitor to Cape Cod, is obsessed with the sea. He swims in it every day – winter and summer.  In his talk, drawing on his new book, RISINGTIDEFALLINGSTAR, he will look at the way we humans relate to the sea's natural history – its whales, its birds, its tides, its myths.  From Thoreau to Melville, from Virginia Woolf to Oscar Wilde, from Percy Shelley to Sylvia Plath, he takes up human stories to see how they intertwine with watery mysteries and other species: the singing humpback, the shape-shifting selkie, the gothic cormorant.  He swims with sperm whales and walks remote beaches in the footsteps of philosophers.  And in their collective past and present – both human and animal, both threatened and celebrated – we see the future, incarnate in all those stories contained beneath what Melville called 'the ocean's skin'.

Philip Hoare's book Leviathan or, The Whale won the 2009 BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction. It was followed in 2013 by The Sea Inside.  His new book, RISINGTIDEFALLINGSTAR is published by 4th Estate and has been acclaimed as 'a masterpiece' by The Observer.  An experienced broadcaster, curator and filmmaker, he presented the BBC film The Hunt for Moby-Dick, filmed in New Bedford, Nantucket and the Azores.  He is a regular contributor to The Guardian.  He is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Southampton, UK, and curator of the Moby-Dick Big Read,, a free online audio version of Melville's book read by Tilda Swinton, Sir David Attenborough, Benedict Cumberbatch, Stephen Fry, Simon Callow and many others.  It has received 5 million hits to date.