Eastern Curlew

Dandong mudholes

Dandong mudholes

Harry Saddler is the author of  The Eastern Curlew (2018), We Both Know: Ten Stories About Relationships (2005) and Small Moments (2007), a short novel about the aftermath of the Canberra bushfires of 2003, both published by Ginderra Press.  His writing about the ecological, physical, and philosophical interactions between humans and animals has been published online at Meanjin and the Wheeler Centre, and in print in The Lifted Brow, and formerly at his blog, He was the joint winner of the 2014 Melbourne Writers Festival/Blurb ‘Blog-to-Book’ Challenge, resulting in the book Not Birdwatching: Reflections on Noticing Animals   

In 2015 his piece Thought Experiment, examining questions of human and non-human consciousness, was shortlisted for the Lifted Brow Prize for Experimental Non-Fiction. He has twice been shortlisted for this prize.

At the Emerging Writers Festival in Melbourne in 2016 he was part of a panel of Nature Writers who discussed the challenges and wonders of writing about nature.

Harry has just published The Eastern Curlew, (Affirm Press) in  August 2018.

Of his  book he says:

The Eastern Curlew s not a famous bird, but it is pretty incredible and I think it's worth knowing about. Here's why:

Next time you're grocery shopping, pick up a 1 kilogram bag of flour. Imagine a bird that weighs exactly that much. Then imagine it, this bird that you could pick up and carry in just one hand, opening a pair of long, tapering wings and flying from the south coast of Australia, across the sea to Korea, then to China, then to Siberia. Imagine it doing that every year of its life. Then imagine it flying back every year, too. Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth – 10,000 kilometres each way, so many times that by the end of its life this bird, this bird which weighs hardly anything, will have flown the equivalent of the distance from the earth to the moon.

That's the eastern curlew, and that's the story I want to tell. I think it's a story worth telling, and my publisher agrees.

In April 2016 following a successful crowdfunding campaign, supported by generous friends and strangers, I visited China and South Korea. On their way to Siberia the Eastern Curlews stop off in South Korea and in China. How do people there respond to their arrival? Are they inspired? Do they tell stories about these birds? And what do they do to protect the curlews' habitat and make sure the curlews will keep flying for generations to come? These are some of the questions that I wanted to find the answers to, and which I am writing about in my book.