Harry Thurston was born in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia in 1950. He graduated with a BSc. in biology from Acadia University in 1971 and in 2013 was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Literature by Acadia.
Since 1977 has been a full-time poet, journalist, and editor. He is currently a mentor in the Masters of Fine Arts program in Creative Non-Fiction at University of King’s College in Halifax, N.S. He has taught poetry at Saint Mary’s University and journalism at University of King’s College in Halifax, and served as writer-in-residence at Mount Allison and Acadia universities. In 2009-10 he served as the Haig-Brown Writer-in-Residence in Campbell River, B.C. He was the 2014-15 Chair of the Writers Union of Canada.
He has been a contributor to more than 30 North American magazines–specializing in environmental issues and natural history (including National Geographic, Audubon, Equinox, Harrowsmith, Canadian Geographic)–where his articles have garnered several national journalism awards. These have included the National Magazine Award for Science & Technology (1983) and the Canadian Science Writers’ Association Science & Society Awards. He also received the Visionary Award of the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment, “for increasing public awareness on environmental issues”.
Likewise, his books of poetry and nonfiction have received numerous honours. A four-time winner of the Evelyn Richardson Prize for the best non-fiction book by a Nova Scotian, he has also received the Dartmouth Book Award and Atlantic Booksellers' Choice Award for Tidal Life, A Natural History of the Bay of Fundy. His A Place Between The Tides, A Naturalist's Reflections on the Salt Marsh, was a finalist for the Drainie-Taylor Biography Prize and the inaugural British Columbia Award for Canadian Non-fiction and winner of the Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award in the U.S. A Ship Portrait, A Novella-in-Verse, was a finalist for the Atlantic Poetry Prize and was later adapted for the stage. Ova Aves was nominated for the National Magazine Award for Poetry. The Atlantic Coast: A Natural History received the City of Dartmouth Book Award for Nonfiction as well as the Lane Anderson Award for Best Science Writing in Canada.
He is currently working on a long eco-poem.
Keeping Watch at the End of the World. Gaspereau Press, 2015
The Atlantic Coast, A Natural History. Greystone Books/David Suzuki Foundation, 2011
Animals Of My Own Kind, New & Selected Poems. Vehicule Press, 2009
Silver Ghost (with photography by Thaddeus Holownia). Anchorage Press, 2008
Broken Vessel, Thirty Five Days in the Desert. Gaspereau Press, 2007
A Ship Portrait, A Novella-in-Verse. Gaspereau Press, 2005
The Sea’s Voice, An Anthology of Atlantic Canadian Nature Writing (Editor). Nimbus Publishing, 2005
A Place Between The Tides, A Naturalist’s Reflections on the Salt Marsh. Greystone Books, 2004
Island Of The Blessed, The Secrets of Egypt’s Everlasting Oasis. Doubleday Canada, 2003
The Sea Among The Rocks, Travels in Atlantic Canada. Pottersfield Press, 2002
The Nature of Hummingbirds. Greystone Books, 1999
The Atlantic Canada Nature Guide. Key Porter Books, 1998
The Nature of Shorebirds, Nomads of the Wetlands. Vancouver: Greystone Books, 1996.
Dawning of the Dinosaurs. Halifax, NS: Nimbus & Nova Scotia Museum, 1994.
Against Darkness and Storm, Lighthouses of the Northeast. Halifax, NS: Nimbus, 1993.
Tidal Life, A Natural History of the Bay of Fundy. Camden East, ON: Camden House, 1990.
Clouds Flying Before the Eye. Fredericton, NB: Goose Lane Editons, 1985.
Honorary Doctorate of Literature, Acadia University, 2013
Lane Anderson Award for Best Science Writing in Canada for The Atlantic Coast: A Natural History, 2012
The Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award for A Place Between The Tides, A Naturalist’s Reflections On The Salt Marsh, 2005
Evelyn Richardson Memorial Literary Awards for: The Atlantic Coast: A Natural History, 2012 Island Of The Blessed, The Secrets of Egypt’s Everlasting Oasis, 2004; for The Nature of Shorebirds, 1996; and for Tidal Life, A Natural History of the Bay of Fundy, 1991.
City of Dartmouth Book Award for The Atlantic Coast: A Natural History, 2012 and for Tidal Life, A Natural History of the Bay of Fundy, 1991
Atlantic Booksellers’ Choice Award for Tidal Life, A Natural History of the Bay of Fundy, 1991.
Canadian Science Writers’ Association Science & Society Awards, 1986 & 1987
National Magazine Award (silver), Author’s Award (three), Science Journalism Award (twice), Poetry award nomination.
Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment, Visionary Award, “for increasing public awareness on environmental issues”, 1993, 1994.
As a friend of Janet McNaughton, I was advised to contact Harry regarding a 2nd non-fiction I’m working on. The first was self published. Anyway will fill in details when I get in touch with him. I did a workshop with him years ago at the NB Writer’s Workshop in Fredericton. I’m working on a submission for Nimbus and want a non-fiction writer’s second opinion. You can email me. Thanks Sharon
Thank you for a wonderful reading last night at the Osprey Arts Centre!
I met Harry Thurston on Sept 26/12 at a creative writing social where my friend and I were performing poetry as “Bardsonbikes”. I wanted to send Harry a letter of thanks for him staying to see us but I can’t find a mailing address. Can you provide?
I just found your comment on my website, a place I rarely go. I thought your reading was wonderful–energetic, fun, profound, sincere… in every possible way a positive experience and I couldn’t pull myself away. A pleasure meeting you both. I hope we cross paths again soon, and that I will have another opportunity to hear you.
Love “If Men Lived on Earth”. Would love to include some of your poetry in April ’13 issue of Fowl Feathered Review. Please consider us.
Fowl Feathered Review
How can Harry have, “never lived more than 50 miles from the sea”, while working at the University of Guelph, Ontario, as many of his biographies state?
Harry grew up on the Bay of Fundy and after a 20 month stint in Guelph in the mid 1970s, returned to Nova Scotia.