Jane Wilson-Howarth

Jane Wilson-Howarth (born 1954) is a British physician, lecturer and author. She has written three travel health guides, two travel narratives, a novel and a series of wildlife adventures for children. She has also contributed to anthologies of travellers tales, has written innumerable articles for non-specialist readers, and many scientific/academic papers.

Jane Wilson-Howarth
Jane & chameleon.jpg
BornJane Margaret Wilson
Epsom, England, United Kingdom
Pen nameJane Wilson-Howarth
Occupationphysician, author, lecturer
Genretravel narratives, travel health, fiction
SubjectNepal, Madagascar
SpouseSimon Howarth (married 1987)
David (died 1996)

Personal lifeEdit

Jane Wilson was born in Epsom Hospital, Surrey, as one of the three children of Peggy (Margaret) Thomas (1926–2015), from London, and a bibliophile, Joe Wilson (1920–2011), from Ballymena in Northern Ireland. She grew up in Stoneleigh, a suburb north of Ewell Village. She is married to Simon Howarth and the couple live in Kathmandu.


She attended Stoneleigh East County Infants, Junior and Senior Schools, and also Cheam High School, but was challenged by dyslexia. She left school at 16 to study for an Ordinary National Diploma in sciences at Ewell Technical College (now North East Surrey College of Technology).

She then studied biological sciences at Plymouth Polytechnic, concentrating on invertebrates, pollution studies, environmental resource management, and completed a research project on cave microclimate and its influence on collembola. This involved countless trips into Radford Cave and led to her first publication.[1] During cave exploration in the UK she made extensive collections of invertebrates to document the species living in lightless environments.[2] In 1976 she was awarded a travelling scholarship by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, which funded a trip to Nepal.

The Nepal connection led to a veterinary research job and she wrote a thesis about rabbit parasites for an MSc from Corpus Christi College, Oxford. Through this work she developed both an interest in immunology and a plan to work to help the poor in emerging nations. She then studied for a medical degree at the University of Southampton.

She gained a Diploma in Child Health (Royal College of Physicians, London 1992), a Diploma in Community Child Health (Royal College of Physicians, RCGP and Public Health Faculty, Edinburgh 1992), a Diploma of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists 2007) and a fellowship in the Faculty of Travel Medicine, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow in 2009. She was also elected a fellow of the British Global and Travel Health Association in 2017.

Medical careerEdit

Since qualifying as a doctor of medicine, Wilson-Howarth has worked in general medicine and obstetrics and gynaecology in Swindon, orthopaedics in Salisbury and paediatrics at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. She was employed on various child survival and hygiene promotion projects in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Indonesia, India and Nepal. Wilson-Howarth served as a National Health Service general practitioner (GP) in Cambridgeshire for 15 years when she taught Cambridge medical students about general practice and also international health.

She lectures on travel health too and has contributed to numerous textbooks,[3][4][5] and on occasion to health stories for national newspapers.[6][7] She helped provide clinical care to Syrian refugees in Greece for Médecins du Monde / Doctors of the World in 2016. She works on occasion for Voluntary Service Overseas including in Nigeria.[8] Since early in 2015, Wilson-Howarth has been a trustee for Health Books International (see www.healthbooksinternational.org) which was formerly Teaching-aids at Low Cost whose mission is to ship medical textbooks to low income countries.[9]


Dervla Murphy, Eric Newby, Hilary Bradt, Gerald Durrell, David Attenborough, Joe Wilson (her father).

Sports and ExpeditionsEdit

Wilson-Howarth started caving and also scuba diving while an undergraduate in Plymouth pursuing ecological studies. She did some cave diving and was probably the first woman to do decompression dives in the subterranean "lake" in Pridhamsleigh Cavern in Devon.[10] In 1973 she won the British Universities and Colleges individual canoe slalom event and on the same day also the seven-mile whitewater canoeing race. In addition she won the national colleges sailing championship.

In 1978–79 she rowed for Corpus Christi College, Oxford, the first year the college had fielded a ladies eight, when they won three "bumps" in Eights Week. In 2004 she took the sport up again at Cambridge, rowing in various races on the River Cam and at Eton Dorney.

Wilson-Howarth spent six months on an overland trip to the Himalayan region; this was with a small team intent on finding new caves in Pakistan, India and Nepal and documenting what lived inside them. She began some research on histoplasmosis, on bat rabies and made extensive zoological collections mostly for the British Museum (Natural History) / Natural History Museum, London.[11]

While an undergraduate at Southampton she was involved in further expeditions – to Madagascar[12][13] and (leading a team of eleven) Peru.[14] She also organised a medical elective with Save the Children in Ladakh.[15] In 1983 she was awarded the BISH Medal by the Scientific Exploration Society for "courage and determination in the face of adversity".

The first Madagascar expedition led to a second, and this work contributed to the Ankarana Massif's recognition as an important refuge for mammals including the endangered crowned lemur, Sanford's brown lemur,[16][17] as well as smaller wildlife[18] and a previously unknown blind fish.[19][20] The Massif also proved to be a rich location where important sub-fossil giant lemur remains were discovered.[21][22][23]


The little propeller-driven plane droned along the line of the great Himalaya. The middle hills beneath us looked like a frozen, fathomless, choppy sea. Tossed as we were by turbulence and updrafts, we seemed as helpless and insignificant as a lost housefly buzzing over a threatening, deep-green ocean. Machhapuchharé, the fishtail, at nearly 7,000 metres, is as high as the highest Andean giants, yet from the air it looked tiny, overshadowed as it was by the Annapurna horseshoe, the seventh highest mountain in the world.

Jane Wilson-Howarth[24] in A Glimpse of Eternal Snows”

Wilson-Howarth's writing almost invariably has a travel theme. Her first book (when she wrote as Jane Wilson), Lemurs of the Lost World (1990, 1995), is about expeditions to Madagascar and was described as the finest travel book thus far written about Madagascar by Dervla Murphy in the Times Literary Supplement.[25] The Essential Guide to Travel Health has appeared in five editions having originally launched as Bugs Bites & Bowels in 1995. Your Child Abroad: a travel health guide is a family manual written in collaboration with paediatrician Dr Matthew Ellis. How to Shit Around the World is a compilation of toilet tales, and includes an introduction by Kathleen Meyer, author of How to Shit in the Woods. A Glimpse of Eternal Snows is a poignant travel memoir[26][27] set in Cambridge and Nepal; it has received praise in the press;[28] a second edition was published in the UK in October 2012 and in North America in February 2013. A third edition was launched in India in 2015.

Sometimes perhaps a short life and a happy one is better than anything we doctors can offer. A Glimpse of Eternal Snows is the proverbial life-changing book.

Dr James Le Fanu[28] in The Daily Telegraph

Her first novel Snowfed Waters was self-published early in 2014 and was picked up and launched in February 2017 in the Indian subcontinent by the Delhi-based publisher Speaking Tiger.[29] The book is a fictional sequel to A Glimpse of Eternal Snows.

Wilson-Howarth has contributed at literary festivals.[30] Her work has been featured twice at the Cambridge Wordfest; she read from her memoir and, more recently, a contribution was

selected by Oxygen Books / City Picks, for a public reading of Cambridge's finest writing. A Glimpse of Eternal Snows was also chosen for The National Year of Reading and by BBC Radio Cambridgeshire for its A Book a Day project in May. Wilson-Howarth contributed "Kathmandu" to a poetry anthology[31] and several of her pieces on travel and writing are in prose collections.[32][33][34][35][36]

She has written double spread travel health features for all but two issues of Wanderlust (a total of over 200 articles so far) and also some for Condé Nast Traveller. She has occasionally contributed to The Independent newspaper and other national publications.[37][38][39] In 2019, Simon Calder travel editor of the Independent newspaper called Wilson-Howarth one of the five most impressive travel authorities.[40] Wilson-Howarth is a member of the Society of Authors, the innovative Walden Writers cooperative, and Cambridge Writers. She often gives talks and readings especially in East Anglia.[41] She was featured by Lonely Planet's on-line travel magazine.[42] Wilson-Howarth is active in the Walden Writers cooperative, set up in Saffron Walden, Essex, by authors Amy Corzine and Martyn Everett in 2008, to cross-promote the work of its members, organise literary events, publish a magazine[43][44][45] and exchange information and support.[46] Some meetings are workshops for members' works in progress,[47][48] and covering matters of printing, distribution and marketing that were once the domain of publishers. Other members include biographer Clare Mulley, children's authors Victor Watson, Rosemary Hayes and Penny Speller, and historian Lizzie Sanders.


Wilson-Howarth has given television interviews on BBC Breakfast, ITV Tyne Tees and Sky Travel as well as on national Radio 4 programmes including Excess Baggage, Breakaway, The Living World and Medicine Now. She has also been interviewed live for radio programmes broadcast in the US, Canada, South Africa, Australia, Ireland and innumerable local radio stations. She has also often contributed to BBC Radio Cambridgeshire's Afternoon Show.


Travel Narratives

  • Wilson, Jane (2014). Lemurs of the Lost World: exploring the forests and Crocodile Caves of Madagascar. Impact, London. p. 216. ASIN B00DXKZX7O. ISBN 978-1-874687-48-1.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Wilson-Howarth, Jane (2012). A Glimpse of Eternal Snows: a journey of love and loss in the Himalayas. Bradt Travel Guides, UK. p. 390. ASIN B009S7FHU4. ISBN 978-1-84162-435-8.
  • Green, Stephanie; Françoise Hivernel; Sally Haiselden; Seeta Siriwardena; Jane Wilson-Howarth (2018). 50 Camels and She’s Yours: tales from five women across five continents. Cambridge: Feedaread. p. 305. ASIN B07H3BFMJZ. ISBN 9781788764285.

Travel Health Guides


  • Wilson-Howarth, Jane (2014). Snowfed Waters: a cure for depression. p. 316. ASIN B00HRUBBRW. ISBN 978-1-78407-322-0.
  • Wilson-Howarth, Jane (2016). Himalayan Kidnap: the first Alex and James eco-adventure set in Nepal. Eifrig Publishing, Lemont PA. p. 176. ISBN 9781632331007.
  • Wilson-Howarth, Jane (2017). Himalayan Kidnap: the first Alex and James eco-adventure set in Nepal. Eifrig Publishing, Lemont PA. p. 234. ISBN 9781632331274.
  • Wilson-Howarth, Jane (2017). Snowfed Waters: a novel. Speaking Tiger. p. 287. ISBN 9789386338211.
  • Wilson-Howarth, Jane (2017). Chasing the Tiger: the second Alex and James eco-adventure set in Nepal. Eifrig Publishing, Lemont PA. p. 216. ISBN 9781632331038.


  1. ^ Wilson, J.M. (1975). "The effect of low humidity on the distribution of Heteromurus nitidus (Collembola) in Radford Cave, Devon". Transactions of the British Cave Research Association. 2 (3): 123–126.
  2. ^ Hazelton, Mary. "Hypogean fauna collections". Transactions of the British Cave Research Association. 5 (3): 195.
  3. ^ Johnson, Chris; Sarah Anderson; Jon Dallimore; Chris Imray; Shane Winser; James Moore; David Warrell (2015). Oxford Handbook of Expedition and Wilderness Medicine. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 62–67 & 410–413. ISBN 978-0-19-929661-3.
  4. ^ Field, Vanessa; et al. (2010). Health Information for Overseas Travel. London: National Travel Health Network and Centre. p. 378. ISBN 978-0-9565792-0-1.
  5. ^ Sharland, Mike; et al. (2011). Manual of Childhood Infections (Oxford Specialist Handbooks in Paediatrics). Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 350–356. ISBN 978-0-19-957358-5.
  6. ^ "Coping with travel sickness". Daily Telegraph. 10 August 2011. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  7. ^ "Shortage of yellow fever vaccine". Independent newspaper on line. 2 February 2014. Retrieved 3 February 2014.
  8. ^ Wilson-Howarth, Jane (2018). "An investigation of an outbreak of malaria in International Citizenship Service (ICS) Volunteers in Nigeria". Journal of the British Global & Travel Health Association. XXIX: 1–3.
  9. ^ Wilson-Howarth, Jane (2018). "Health Books International - a resource for clinicians working in low-income countries". Travelwise: Journal of the British Global and Travel Health Association. 29: 35.
  10. ^ "Diving an Azure Lake". Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  11. ^ Jane M. Wilson (1982). "A review of world Troglopedetini (Collembola, Paronellidae), including an identification table and descriptions of new species". Cave Science: Transactions of the British Cave Research Association. 9 (3): 210–226.
  12. ^ Howarth, C.J.; et al. (1986). "Population Ecology of the Ring-tailed Lemur and White Sifaka at Berenty, Madagascar". Folia Primatologica. 47: 39–48. doi:10.1159/000156262. PMID 3557229.
  13. ^ Wilson, Jane M. (1987). "The Crocodile Caves of Ankarana, Madagascar". Oryx. 21 (1): 43–47. doi:10.1017/s0030605300020470.
  14. ^ White, A.J. (1984). "Cognitive impairment of AMS and acetazolamide". Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine. 5: 598–603.
  15. ^ Wilson, J.M. (1986). "Hair analysis and the assessment of marginal malnutrition in children from Little Tibet". Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 80: 168–9. doi:10.1016/0035-9203(86)90231-2.
  16. ^ Wilson, J.M.; et al. (1989). "Ecology and Conservation of the Crowned Lemur at Ankarana, N. Madagascar with notes on Sanford's Lemur, Other Sympatrics and Subfossil Lemurs". Folia Primatologica. 52: 1–26. doi:10.1159/000156379. PMID 2807091.
  17. ^ Fowler, S.V.; et al. (1989). "A survey and management proposals for a tropical deciduous forest reserve at Ankarana in northern Madagascar". Biological Conservation. 47: 297–313. doi:10.1016/0006-3207(89)90072-4.
  18. ^ José G. Palacios-Vargas; Jane Wilson (1990). "Troglobius coprophagus, a new genus and species of cave collembolan from Madagascar with notes on its ecology" (PDF). International Journal of Speleology. 19 (1–4): 67–73. doi:10.5038/1827-806x.19.1.6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 July 2011.
  19. ^ Banister, K.E. (1994). "Glossogobius ankaranensis, a new species of blind cave goby from Madagascar". Journal of Ichthyology & Aquatic Biology. 1 (3): 25–28.
  20. ^ Wilson, Jane M. (1996). "Conservation and ecology of a new blind fish, Glossogobius ankaranensis from the Ankarana Caves, Madagascar". Oryx. 30 (3): 218–221. doi:10.1017/s0030605300021669.
  21. ^ Wilson, Jane (ed.) (1987). "The Crocodile Caves of Ankarana : Expedition to Northern Madagascar, 1986". Cave Science : Transactions of the British Cave Research Association. 14 (3): 107–119.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  22. ^ Wilson, J.M.; et al. (1995). "Past and Present Lemur Fauna at Ankarana, N. Madagascar". Primate Conservation. 16: 47–52.
  23. ^ Godfrey, L.R.; et al. (1996). "Ankarana: window to Madagascar's past". Lemur News. 2: 16–17.
  24. ^ Jane Wilson-Howarth (2012). A Glimpse of Eternal Snows: a journey of love and loss in the Himalayas. Bradt Travel Guides, UK. p. 390. ASIN B009S7FHU4. ISBN 978-1-84162-435-8.
  25. ^ "Memsahib on the Move". Times Literary Supplement. 8 March 1996. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  26. ^ "Mountain baby". The Guardian. 21 June 2008. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  27. ^ To Live – and Die – with Dignity
  28. ^ a b "A Short Life and a Happy One". The Daily Telegraph. 15 July 2008. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  29. ^ Tribune review of the novel Snowfed Waters
  30. ^ Literary Talent on Show
  31. ^ Society of Medical Writers (2012). Poems on Prescription. Society of Medical Writers, UK. pp. 103pp. ISBN 978-0-9573575-0-1.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  32. ^ Power to Heal
  33. ^ Doctors writing about patients
  34. ^ Making time for writing
  35. ^ Representing Refugees
  36. ^ Barclay, Jennifer; Adrian Phillips (2015). To Oldly Go: tales of intrepid travel. Chalfont St Peter: Bradt Travel Guides. p. 240. ISBN 978-1784770273.
  37. ^ "Never Travel Without". The Guardian. 15 January 2000. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  38. ^ Wilson-Howarth, Jane (2009). "Have children, will travel". The Geographical. London. 81 (7): 67–70. Archived from the original on 13 January 2012.
  39. ^ "8 Illnesses you could have brought back from holiday". The Telegraph. 7 September 2015.
  40. ^ "Most Impressive Travel Authorities". The Independent. May 2019. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  41. ^ Cambs Times
  42. ^ Meet a Traveller
  43. ^ Walden Writers One: an anthology of short stories, poetry and articles of interest. Walden Writers, UK. Spring 2009.
  44. ^ Walden Writers Two: an anthology of short stories, poetry and articles of interest. Walden Writers, UK. Autumn 2009.
  45. ^ Walden Writers Three: an anthology of short stories, poetry and articles of interest. Walden Writers, UK. Autumn 2010.
  46. ^ Walden Writers Facebook page
  47. ^ Walden Writers and the Joy of Books
  48. ^ Walden Writers in Essex Book Festival

External linksEdit