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Steven Herrick

  • Original Title: BY THE RIVER
  • Publication date: August 2004
  • Publisher: ALLEN & UNWIN
  • Country: AU
  • 240 print pages
  • Drama


  • Epoch: Contemporary
  • Time Period: 21st century
  • Location setting: Australia
  • Themes: FAMILY, Siblings, Paternity, Mourning, PEOPLE facing life, Coming of age, Death, Resilience, SOCIAL CHRONICLES, Social relations, Friendship, CHARACTERS, Child


Through poetry, Harry Hodby documents the quirks and failures of his rural Australian town. When he loses his friend, Linda, he realises he is not the only one secretly mourning her.


Translation rights sold: Germany

A recipient of the CBCA Book of the Year, Older Readers, 2005
Winner of the 2019 German Youth Literature Prize Young Adult winner.

Steven Herrick is an Australian author. He writes for children and teenagers and visits many schools each year.


Set in a remote Australian town, Harry Hodby documents the mundane and unique qualities of daily life and the quirkiness of the townspeople. Life for Harry means swimming in Pearce Swamp, eating chunks of watermelon with his brother and his dad, surviving schoolyard battles, and racing through butterflies in Cowpers Paddock. His mother died when he was seven, but his father has built a nurturing home for the boys, though some are quick to criticize them.
Harry finds the town boring and yearns to escape for a time some day, but he worries that too many people have left and never returned. He also mourns for his friend Linda, who was swept away when the river on which the town is situated swelled and overflowed its banks. He secretly tends a shrine created in her honor, only to discover later that he is not alone in his admiration of her.

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