About the Book

When intrepid biology student Hanne Strager volunteered to be the cook on a small research vessel in Norway’s Lofoten Islands, the trip inspired a decades-long journey into the lives of killer whales—and an exploration of people’s complex relationships with the biggest predators on earth. The Killer Whale Journals chronicles the now internationally renowned science writer’s fascinating adventures around the world, documenting Strager’s personal experiences with orcas in the wild.

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Killer whales’ incredible intelligence, long life spans, and strong family bonds lead many people to see them as kindred spirits in the sea. But not everyone feels this way—like wolves, orcas have been both beloved and vilified throughout human history. In this absorbing odyssey, Strager traces the complicated relationship between humans and killer whales, while delving into their behavior, biology, and ecology. She brings us along in her travels to the most remote corners of the world, battling the stormy Arctic seas of northern Norway with fellow biologists intent on decoding whale-song, interviewing First Nations conservationists in Vancouver, observing Inuit hunters in Greenland, and witnessing the dismantling of black market “whale jails” in the Russian wilderness of Kamchatka.

Through these captivating stories, Strager introduces us to a diverse cast of characters from Inuit elders to Australian Aboriginal whalers and guides us through the world’s wild waters, from fjords above the Arctic circle in Norway to the poaching-infested waters off Kamchatka. Featuring astonishing photographs from famed nature photographer and conservationist Paul Nicklen, The Killer Whale Journals reveals rare and intimate moments of connection with these fierce, brilliant predators.


“Hanne Strager is a strong new voice in nature and science writing. Her book is brimming with the kind of personal anecdotes, scientific discoveries, and thrilling adventures that make an entertaining and compelling read. It is an important book too. Killer whales trigger the same mixed emotions that we know from wolves and other large predators. She tackles the controversial issue of how we relate to animals when they collide with human interests with insight, passion and wit. A truly wonderful book”.


―Bernd Heinrich, author of Winter World, Mind of the Raven, Why We Run, and The Homing Instinct


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About the author

Hanne Strager is a Danish biologist, whale researcher, and author. She is the co-founder of the Andenes Whale Centre in Norway and she has served as the Director of Exhibitions at the Natural History Museum of Denmark. She has taught biology of marine mammals at the University of Copenhagen and has led numerous expeditions of whale researchers and film expeditions to Northern Norway. She is involved in the development and fundraising for the new Norwegian museum, The Whale, which is slated to begin construction in Andenes in 2025.

With an undergraduate degree in journalism, Strager received a Master of Science from the Aarhus University, Denmark. She was also a Fulbright Scholar at University of California, Santa Cruz, in their biology Ph.D. program.

Strager has been awarded the Copenhagen University Natural Sciences Faculty’s prize for science communication.

In addition to The Killer Whale Journals, Strager is the author of A Modest Genius: The Story of Darwin’s Life and How His Ideas Changed Everything, Precious Things and Shadow Zone.


The Whale

Hanne Strager is Director of Exhibitions at The Whale, a new museum in the small town Andenes situated 300 km north of the Arctic Circle in Norway. The spectacular building is designed by Danish architect Dorte Mandrup and planned to open in 2025. Just outside Andenes a deep-sea canyon extends almost all the way to the coast creating a favorable environment for all kind of sea creatures. The area is extraordinarily rich in marine life and many species of whales can be seen year round in the waters off Andenes.



For rights, literary agent requests, photo permissions, and inquiries:

Elise Capron

Sandra Dijkstra Literary


For media, press, speaking engagement requests, and publicity inquiries for The KillerWhale Journals:

Kait Howard

Johns HopkinsUniversity