I wrote this article 14 years ago – and discovering it has made me feel rather old! But also rather proud that I managed to write something of this depth when I was really just starting out as a freelance journalist. And for such a publication – the New Scientist.

But where is the story now? I started to have a rummage and found this on the BBC web that in 2007 moves were afoot to try and re-start the project. And that is where the trail has stopped … I just hope that the damn dam has been stopped too – it was clear when I visited the Himba people ,who live part of the year near the beautiful Epupa waterfalls, that their lives would be destroyed should this development take place.

And where is the reference to hedgehogs? Even Namibia, famed for extensive deserts, has indigenous hedgehogs in the form of Atelerix frontalis … which has formed the basis for the breeding stock of the semi-domesticated hedgehogs that are still being touted as pets.

That was a bit of a shoe-horn of a hedgehog link – but I could not go publishing something without hedgehogs!


To some this may seem unsavoury, but to me, it is a necessary component of life … self-promotion. I think that I was raised to shun such extreme behaviour, but somewhere along the line I shed the middle-class reserve (probably around the time I learnt to think for myself, and realised that ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’).

So, here are just a few of the reviews that A Prickly Affair and The Hedgehog’s Dilemma (one and the same) received … and if you are so moved, please go to Amazon and write more.
Jeanette Winterson
“the most glorious mad book… a charming book and will take your mind off everything.”

New Scientist
“…an autobiographical yarn … that is at once humorous, touching and obsessive… An oddly satisfying read.”

The Guardian
“…unfailingly entertaining… Ultimately it’s a book about our relationship with hedgehogs as much as it is about hedgehogs themselves.” “Save a hedgehog and you might just save the world.”

Jay Griffiths
“This is an utterly charming book, it is funny and gently serious.”

Libby Purves (Midweek)
“The perfect antidote to the economic crisis.”

The Spectator
“This is a useful and entertaining book, and unsentimental.”

The Daily Telegraph
“Hugh Warwick, an otherwise normal father-of-two…”

Oxford Times
“You end up learning an enormous amount about hedgehogs without really noticing, and laugh quite a lot, too.”

Hay Book Festival programme
“A truly eccentric global story of hog lore.”

LA Times
“There’s more than a whiff of the legendary naturalist Gerald Durrell here — his humor, his affection and his never-ending curiosity.”