> Skip to content
Play sample
  • Published: 3 November 2020
  • ISBN: 9781761041594
  • Imprint: Penguin Random House Australia Audio
  • Format: Audio Download
  • Length: 5 hr 12 min
  • Narrator: Meg Keneally
  • RRP: $27.99

Animals Make Us Human




A fundraiser for our wildlife, from land, sea and sky. Proceeds go to the Australian Marine Conservation Society and Australian Wildlife Conservancy.

A response to the devastating 2019–20 bushfires, Animals Make Us Human both celebrates Australia’s unique wildlife and highlights its vulnerability. Through words and images, writers, photographers and researchers reflect on their connection with animals and nature. They share moments of wonder and revelation from encounters in the natural world: seeing a wild platypus at play, an echidna dawdling across a bush track, or the inexplicable leap of a thresher shark; watching bats take flight at dusk, or birds making a home in the backyard; or following possums, gliders and owls into the dark.

Hopeful, uplifting and deeply moving, this collection is also an urgent call to action, a powerful reminder that we only have one world in which to coexist and thrive with our fellow creatures. By highlighting the beauty and fragility of our unique fauna, Australia’s favourite writers, renowned researchers and acclaimed photographers encourage readers to consider it in a new light.

Featuring: Barbara Allen, Robbie Arnott, Tony Birch, James Bradley, Mark Brandi, Geraldine Brooks, Anne Buist, Melanie Cheng, Claire G. Coleman, Ceridwen Dovey, Chris Flynn, Nayuka Gorrie, Dan Harley, Ashley Hay, Toni Jordan, Leah Kaminsky, Paul Kelly, Meg Keneally, Tom Keneally, Cate Kennedy, David Lindenmayer, Ella Loeffler, Maia Loeffler, Jen Martin, Angela Meyer, Sonia Orchard, Favel Parrett, Marissa Parrott, Bruce Pascoe, Jack Pascoe, Sue Pillans, Nick Porch, Holly Ringland, Euan Ritchie, Antoinette Roe, Kirli Saunders, Graeme Simsion, Tracy Sorensen, Shaun Tan, Lucy Treloar, Karen Viggers, Emma Viskic, John Woinarski, Clare Wright.

And photographers: Tim Bawden, Kristian Bell, Rohan Bilney, Justin Bruhn, Andrew Buckle, Matt Clancy, Amy Coetsee, Craig Coverdale, Angus Emmott, Jayne Jenkins, Vivien Jones, Sue Liu, Michael Livingston, Caleb McElrea, Nick Monaghan, Richard Pillans, Gillian Rayment, Linda Rogan, David Maurice Smith, Steve Smith, Colin Southwell, Georgina Steytler, Wayne Suffield, Heather Sutton, Peter Taylor, William Terry, Patrick Tomkins, Matt Wright.

  • Published: 3 November 2020
  • ISBN: 9781761041594
  • Imprint: Penguin Random House Australia Audio
  • Format: Audio Download
  • Length: 5 hr 12 min
  • Narrator: Meg Keneally
  • RRP: $27.99

About the authors

Leah Kaminsky

Leah Kaminsky is a physician and award-winning writer. Her debut novel, The
Waiting Room
, won the Voss Literary Prize. The Hollow Bones won both the Literary
Fiction and Historical Fiction categories of the 2019 International Book Awards,
and the 2019 American Book Fest’s Best Book Award for Literary Fiction. She is the
author of ten books and holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. www.leahkaminsky.com

Meg Keneally

Meg Keneally started her working life as a junior public affairs officer at the Australian Consulate-General in New York, before moving to Dublin to work as a sub-editor and freelance features writer.

On returning to Australia, she joined the Daily Telegraph as a general news reporter, covering everything from courts to crime to animals’ birthday parties at the zoo. She then joined Radio 2UE as a talkback radio producer.

In 1997 Meg co-founded a financial service public relations company, which she sold after having her first child.

For more than ten years, Margaret has worked in corporate affairs for listed financial services companies, and doubles as a part-time SCUBA diving instructor.

She lives in Sydney with her husband Craig and children Rory and Alex.

Praise for Animals Make Us Human

Every one of the 44 essays is worth reading and the accompanying photographs are spectacular. Geraldine Brooks starts her appreciation of huntsman spiders in a way that shows why she has a Pulitzer Prize to her name: “I’m looking at him. He’s looking back. He’s looking down, in fact, from the ceiling of my bedroom. His eight-eyed stare is the last thing I see each night …” Paul Kelly contributes a song, Sleep, Australia, Sleep, that laments the animals we are losing. “Our children might know them / but their children will not.” Indigenous writer Kirli Saunders, in a poem from her new collection, Bindi, pays respect to the sacred garrall, the bird non-Indigenous people know as the black cockatoo. “We pause to hear her calls / from far away.”

Stephen Romei, The Australian

A beautiful, heartwarming book.

Thuy On, The Big Issue

Animals Make Us Human is a collection of moving essays and photographs that celebrates our stunning wildlife and raises money for its conservation.

Toni Jordan, Sydney Morning Herald, Books of the Year

Animals Make Us Human is a response to the devastating 2019-2020 bushfires. This stunning collection features many of Australia’s finest writers and photographers (full disclosure: I am in it). Essays of hope and love for nature, this is the perfect Christmas gift. Proceeds will help wildlife conservation.

Favel Parrett, The Sydney Morning Herald, Books of the Year

Australian writers divulge their creature crushes in Leah Kaminsky and Meg Keneally’s edited anthology, Animals Make Us Human. A post-bushfire fundraiser for Australian wildlife, this collection of stories and photographs by a truly spectacular line-up of authors will appeal to nature aficionados young and old. (And keep an eye out for #literarycritters, a guerrilla group of crafters making knitted replicas of the animals featured in each story!)

Clare Wright, The Australian, Books of the Year

Animals Make us Human brings together a stellar cast of Australian writers, field ecologists and photographers to share stories of close encounters with animals. The focus is on Australian native fauna – wonderful and bizarre in its diversity – wombats, koalas, dingoes, Leadbeater’s possums, bush-tailed phascogales, blue-tongue lizards, echidnas, whale sharks, Crabeater seals, spiders, magpies, and more. These magical moments of interspecies’ meetings can be fleeting but life-defining. Most of us have a story we can relate. Placing ourselves in nature not outside it can bring precious clarity to our crowded lives. In nature we soften our gaze and slow down to a pace that feels more biologically compatible with the bodies we evolved to occupy. But rapid land-clearing, urbanisation and climate change are threatening what’s there. Last Summer’s bushfires killed or displaced a staggering 3 billion native animals. The message in this anthology, with beautiful photos to match, is clear. Do something before it’s too late. Proceeds from the sale of Animals Make Us Human go to the Australian Wildlife Conservancy and the Australian Marine Conservation Society. Read it to your children, so they know what once was, or could be.

Natasha Mitchell, The Age

Related titles