Posted by: Lisa Hill | August 30, 2021

Meet an Aussie Author: Harry Saddler, and Questions Raised by Quolls (2021)

Photo credit: Manda Ford

Another author in my series featuring the new books of Australian authors whose MWF events were cancelled…


Harry Saddler is a Melbourne-based writer. His writing about the interactions between people, animals, and the environment has been published in The Lifted Brow, Meanjin, and The Guardian, among others. His book The Eastern Curlew: the extraordinary life of a migratory bird was shortlisted for the Queensland Literary Awards in 2019.

ABOUT QUESTIONS RAISED BY QUOLLS (from the Affirm Press website)

Fatherhood and Conservation in an uncertain World

‘They came at dusk, drawn to our camp site by the smell of food. We were cleaning up after dinner in the gathering dark, the pots and pans scraped empty but with traces of our meal still lingering, when we heard the noise of them: yapping calls, one to the other, or just to themselves in their excitement.’

When Harry Saddler first encountered a quoll while camping with his father, he was struck by the beauty of the rare creature who had emerged from the bush, sniffing for dinner. As Harry frantically snapped a photo, the fast-moving mammal disappeared back into the undergrowth.

Many years later that blurry photo remains a memory, as fleeting as the animal it captured. After two centuries of habitat destruction, quolls are now on the brink of extinction and Harry, contemplating fatherhood, aches for the absence of all the species lost to children born today.

Questions Raised by Quolls is an eloquent examination of extinction and conservation set against the backdrop of global climate change. From his own family lineage, Harry reveals how humanity’s ever-accelerating modern way of life runs parallel with the destruction of the natural world. Evocative and challenging, this eulogy to lost species will force you to question your place in the vast interconnected web of life.

Here are Harry’s answers to my questions for Meet an Aussie Author.

  1. I was born… in Canberra, and I moved to Melbourne in 2004 after graduating from university.
  1. When I was a child… my parents would take me bushwalking. They had to drag me out of the house, but I loved it once I got out there.
  1. The person who encouraged / inspired / mentored me… my parents, especially my father, instilled a love of nature in me. My high school English teacher encouraged me to write.
  1. I write… wherever I can: I don’t need a specific writing place. I’m as happy writing in parks and cafes and libraries as I am at home.
  1. I write when… whenever I have time, but usually at night at around 9pm. I need at least an hour of decompression after writing before going to bed.
  1. Research is… something I’ve learned how to do. When I was writing fiction it intimidated me, which is the main reason I came late to non-fiction.
  1. I keep my published works in … my bookshelf alongside all the books I own, and spare copies stay in the box they came in til I’ve given them all away.
  1. On the day my first book was published, I … had a very sad party! I was new to Melbourne. I invited a few friends over and I think maybe two people turned up.
  1. At the moment, I’m writing… nothing! A perk of having a book published is that you’ve earned a break from writing and you don’t have to feel guilty about it.
  1. When I ‘m stuck for an idea / word / phrase… if I’m struggling to get started I’ll quit for the day: it’s okay to say “It’s not working today, I’ll try again tomorrow.”

Update:19/11/21 I’ve bought this book but I haven’t read it yet.  However, Jennifer at Tasmanian Bibliophile at Large has, and you can read her review here.

RRP: $32.99
ISBN: 9781922419514
Jacketed Hardback,  224 pages

You can pre-order the book from Readings and other good bookstores.  Remember to show your thanks and support to them and other indie bookstores doing it tough in Lockdown by buying your books from them: support Australian indie booksellers!


  1. As an Indie bookseller – THANK YOU.
    Click & collect is a hard way to run a business, but it’s better than not!

    Saddler’s curlew book was a small cult favourite with a number of our regular customers when it first came out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It makes me really mad to see people ordering books from Amazon. When we buy from the locals, the money stays here in Australia. It’s indie booksellers who run author events and sponsor conferences and prizes and goodness knows what else besides.
      Yes, it’s true that we don’t get to enjoy the wonderful atmosphere of a bricks-and-mortar bookshop when in Lockdown, but it’s comforting to know that it’s there, waiting for us to come back, and it feels to good to know that every dollar we spend is keeping the shop open and that eventually we’ll see those familiar faces again.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Amen!
        We feel the same way about our regular customers. We miss the bookish chats & friendly banter. And our wonderful reps & authors who pop by to sign books & enthuse about their books…
        ..this too shall pass.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, it will. The Spanish Flu did, and they didn’t have the science that we have:)

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Lisa, I have reserved them both at my library. They sound great. I see quolls quite frequently in Tasmania, when I visit to see my daughter and family. .

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen one. I’ve been to a couple of habitat reserves and seen endangered marsupials but TBH I think my brain has mixed them up with quokkas.


      • Hi Lisa, the qokkas in Tasmania are called Pademelons, and they are also known as scrub wallabies. I have seen a few, but I don’t think with spots. Whereas, my daughter who has property has shown me the quokkas with spots,

        Liked by 1 person

        • Ah, thank you!
          Wildlife is not my strong suit!


  3. This book looks interesting, thanks Lisa. I’ve added it to my library list :-)

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This sounds wonderful – such important issues and explored in a personal way. And as a Brit, I’ve now learnt what a quoll is!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I like the personal lens too.
      We have lots of supercute animals here, but they are hard to see because many of them are nocturnal and they’re good at living in habitat that protects them.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Lisa, I have read both books by Harry Saddler; fortunately able to borrow from the library. Harry’s love of nature is so evident in his writings, and he provides fascinating facts. However, I was very disappointed that there were not any photos of the animals or the environs.


    • Yes… I know what you mean. Reading Belinda Probert’s Imaginative Possession which has lots of small B&W photos, I felt the same way, I wanted them bigger and in colour. But that, of course, adds enormously to the cost of production, which in turn reduces sales and readership.
      Fortunately with our phones beside us, we can google for images of almost anything!


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