This event has now finished.
  • Date and time: Monday 3 June 2024, 12pm to 1pm
  • Location: Online only
  • Admission: Free admission, booking required

Event details

The Sahara is the largest hot desert in the world, equal in size to China or the United States. Yet, this arid expanse was once a verdant, pleasant land, fed by rivers and lakes. The Sahara sustained abundant plant and animal life, such as elephants, rhinos, lions, giraffes, Nile perch, turtles, crocodiles and hippos, and attracted prehistoric hunters and herders. What transformed this land of lakes into a sea of sands? 

Martin Williams, author of When the Sahara Was Green, examines the remarkable history of Earth’s greatest desert - including why its climate changed, the impact this had on human populations, and how scientists uncovered the evidence for these extraordinary events.

Join Martin for a valuable look at how an iconic region has changed over millions of years, as he reveals the desert’s surprising past to reflect on its present, as well as its possible future.

This event will take place live on Zoom Webinar. You will receive a link to join a couple of days before the event and a reminder an hour before. During the event, you can ask questions via a Q&A function, but audience cameras and microphones will remain muted throughout.

Book sales

You can buy copies of many of our speakers’ books from Fox Lane Books, a local independent bookseller and Festival partner. In some cases, author signed bookplates are available too. 

About the speaker

Martin Williams is Professor Emeritus and Adjunct Professor of Earth Sciences at the University of Adelaide, Australia. His many books include Climate Change in DesertsNile Waters, Saharan Sands; and The Nile Basin.


University of York