31 August, 2007

Going to World Fantasy!

Steven and I are throwing caution to the winds and going to New York at the end of October/beginning of November, for the World Fantasy Convention and a bunch of happenings beforehand involving the large, loud and outrageously talented Australian contingent, some resident and some just visiting for the festivities.

*squeaks excitedly*

Eclipse One cover

Snappy, eh? To see this bigger, go here.

To remind yourself who is in it, go here.

And for the bunfight about which authors are listed on the cover, go here.

29 August, 2007

Red Spikes is a *starred* Booklist book!

Jennifer Mattson says:
With Lanagan having published two acclaimed short story collections in close succession, one, (Black Juice, 2005), selected as a Printz Honor Book, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Australian fantasist’s third outing—also comprising 10 short stories—showed signs of exhausted reserves. Far from it, this razorsharp assemblage thrusts readers just as exhilaratingly into alien, hermetic environments and uncompromisingly idiomatic points of view. Fans will anticipate some disconcerting, even horrific stuff: In one story, female monkeys in a haremlike herd endure the rivalries of alpha males; in another, characters in Purgatory witness a soul’s descent into a howling, Hieronymous Bosch–like hell. While the stories always startle, they also often murmur about humanity’s higher inclinations, including honor, compassion, and different kinds of love. Along with the patience required to acclimate to each story’s fresh setup, the sophisticated slant of the collection makes it most appropriate for the broadest, most mature readers—the monkey-herd drama, for instance, includes upsetting scenes of animal-world rape, and several stories share plots about childbirth and motherhood rarely seen in books for teen readers. Such indifference to usual genre boundaries will only increase the admiration of Lanagan’s fans, and may serve to broaden her audience into the adult literary world. Young writers will relish the insights into each story’s genesis provided in the closing notes.

28 August, 2007

The loife of a wroiter

I WoW-workshopped all weekend with Jan Cornall and friends. This is a group that meets every month or so with the aim of helping each other finish our novels by December. You can see how well it's worked, if you've been reading this blog.

Yesterday morning I was prerecorded in an interview with Richard Aedy for 'Life Matters' on ABC Radio National. I don't know when it will air, but I'll let you know when I know.

In the afternoon I went to the State Library of New South Wales. It was a bit like returning to the womb, except that they'd totally rearranged the womb! For a few amazed moments, I couldn't even find the requests desk. I had to go in a different door! Wrong, so wrong! Still, I managed to find everything I was looking for in the end and had a good 5 hours' researching the new novel...whatever that is.

Today I did my last Book Week-related workshop, over at Queenwood in Mosman, for 2 hours. Lovely, hard-working writers, and a top afternoon tea! Then on the way home I stopped at Leichhardt Library and renewed the books that were already overdue, and, what's more, they let me borrow 7 more, some of them really big! I'm going to try and go at this reading (for research) like a job. You know, sit up, at a table, during the day, instead of trying to take in a few sentences in bed before I crash. Find good reading places, outside, in the world. Don't know that I'll go to the extreme of making notes. I suppose I should...

Tomorrow morning a friend is coming round to talk with Steven and me about what the American Southwest is like. Then there are a few things I've been putting off while I did Book Week: a short story I owe, tax-related things (brrr!), a bit of editorial work, some posting of books. Oh, and some exercise. That would be good.

And all the while, the glow of the completed novel hovers around me. :)

Over at SCI FI Wire...

John Joseph Adams turns my burbling email about Red Spikes into something snappy! It's like magic.

And look, they have those Sorensen sisters too! Only this one seems not quite as fierce as ours; she says nice things about Click.

26 August, 2007

WoTmania on Red Spikes

This review of Red Spikes reckons:
These stories are deceptively simple in appearance, as Lanagan's direct prose serves as a Trojan Horse for all sorts of mischievous interpretations to enter our brains and to become lodged there.

22 August, 2007

If it's whisper-clean prose you're wanting...

...Red Spikes is your drug, says the Agony Column.

Today, more Book Weeking. No more words left in me.

21 August, 2007

Book Weeking

This week is Children's Book Week here in Australia, and I have spoken to 360 children today. (Hi there, Emmaus Years 7 and 8 - and happy birthday, Seth!) Yesterday I spent 2 hours workshopping with about 20 boys at Liverpool Boys High School, the third of 3 workshops, and tomorrow I've got 3 talks to give at Wenona in North Sydney. Queenwood next week, too. Mine is going to be the most fondled Book of the Year medal ever.

(I don't often get the chance to be sick of the sound of my own voice, but this year Book Week has provided it.)

White Time review

Over here:
My favourite though was the highly entertaining 'Midsummer Mission', which must surely win the prize for the most entertainingly foul-mouthed fairy to appear in children's literature.
Elf, that would be, foul-mouthed elf.

18 August, 2007

Un-embargoed news II

Finally I managed to find a site that Safari could read, here, so that I could check that I was able to tell you the news that Red Spikes is nominated for the Australian Short Story Collection – Arts Queensland Steele Rudd Award, as part of the Queensland Premier's Literary Awards. Also shortlisted are Cate Kennedy for Dark Roots (Scribe), David Malouf for Every Move You Make (Random House UK) and Ryan O’Neill for A Famine in Newcastle (Ginninderra Press).

D'you think Cate and I should start up a hair salon together?


Publishers Weekly devotes/donates a large slab o' text to our multi-author novel.

Nice words from Arthur Levine, who pulled it all together:
These authors have been a joy to work with. What is incredibly wonderful about the final book is that you get to hear each writer’s distinctive voice but together they create another voice—the voice of the novel. I imagine the 10 of them sitting around a campfire, taking turns telling a single story. The thing is, with a group of celebrity authors like this, you know that they are all wonderful writers, but you don’t really know if in the end you will have a book that is interesting to read. But this is. It worked.

CBCA Award acceptance speech

I feel compelled to pass on to you, for people who haven’t read Red Spikes yet and are thinking of moving their children or students along to it—after they’ve usefully extended their reading of Ursula’s The Red Shoe by telling them all about the Petrov Affair—the words on the Queensland Education Department’s Library Services website about my short story collection:
READ BEFORE USE WITH STUDENTS—Contains graphic descriptions of violence and drug use. This book appears to be aimed at a wider demographic than the young adult market […T]he stories contain dark themes… Appropriate for Senior English and Senior English Extension (Literature). Words are used more for suggestion than clarification and the intense imagery provokes disturbing ambiguities that will stimulate analysis.
So, consider yourselves warned.

As well as the violence and drug use (really, the drug use is not the most interesting part of that story) there’s also a pretty unsparing childbirth scene, a dead baby (not from the childbirth scene), a really scary bogeyman, a boy with bad burns, an extended glimpse of the sizzling souls in Hell, and a horribly deformed mouse. Take care in there.

The author of the Library Services notes adds at the end that Red Spikes is:
Appropriate for investigating the roles of author, reader, text and world while developing an ‘understanding of the influence of various contexts on the production of texts and on the reading practices through which readers make meaning'.
I’d just like to say that if I visit any school in the next twelve months and find that my book is being used there to investigate the roles of author, reader, text and world while developing an ‘understanding of the influence of various contexts on the production of texts and on the reading practices through which readers make meaning', I cannot answer for the consequences.

It’s really stunning and wonderful to be standing here. The CBCA Awards were the first I ever knew of book awards. All the authors and titles from the 1960s and 1970s shortlists are clanging around in my head: Nan Chauncy, Patricia Wrightson, Joan Phipson, Ivan Southall, Colin Thiele, Elyne Mitchell, Eleanor Spence, Hesba Brinsmead. Pastures of the Blue Crane! Bread and Honey, Finn’s Folly, I Own the Racecourse, Uhu the owl, When Jays Fly to Barbmo—I can see the covers, and I can hardly believe that Zoe Sadokierski’s wonderful warrior-woman with her beetle antlers and maternity armour is going to sit next to them on those lists. I am very honoured.

I need to thank some other people besides Zoe. Rosalind Price at Allen & Unwin, you have been a great friend and publisher from the very beginning with Wildgame in 1991, and I am so pleased to be able to bring this honour to your publishing house and to you. Jodie Webster, who edited the collection—how cool is this, Jodie? Congratulations! My mother Ann and my sister Susi are here today, and I’d like to thank Mum and Dad for rearing their four daughters to be readers, and for not having a television in the house until very recently. I think Mum would also like you to know that she doesn’t believe the more unwholesome ideas in my stories have anything to do with either nature or nurture on her part. My partner Steven is also here, and he needs to be thanked for putting up with an awful lot of me punching the air and woo-hooing and saying ‘I am a genius!’ in the last couple of years.

Thank you to the awards judges for all their work and thought this year, to the Children’s Book Council of Australia for existing and for their continuing good work, and the donors and benefactors of the CBCA Awards Foundation for making today possible. And thank you to Premier Brumby, and to everyone here today, young and old, for loving and supporting the reading and writing of good books.

[For the Age's awards coverage (mostly about Shaun), go here. For the Australian's coverage, solely about Shaun *rolls eyes* :) , go here]

17 August, 2007

Ben Payne has...

...taken a snapshot of me.

Purty UK Click cover

Due out in October.

Un-embargoed news I

Red Spikes is the Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year: Older Readers!

And Shaun's The Arrival is picture book of the year - well, of course it is!

15 August, 2007

Jules and Eisha...

...do the Vegemite thing over at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. Lots of nice pix to go with our verbiage.

Want your pants scared off?

Want to be really, really disturbed? Read Red Spikes.

13 August, 2007

Another Indian review

Over here, at the Sunday Tribune:
Whether it is young adult fiction, a fantasy-packed journey or plain reality mirroring the brutally taxing lives being led by the middle class today, her tales are certainly unique and exceptional. Based in Sydney, she has homed on to the wilds of Australia and the hardy and often-unforgiving life set that nature there in its bounty visits upon its inhabitants.

OMG, now I'm a veteran.

'Bout time, too. Tee-hee.

Too Much Fun

Okay, I've got two embargoed bits of news, just so you know.

Also, no Victorian Premier's for me this year. (Well, thanks, Agnes, what is the point of having friends on judging panels if they don't show favouritism?—oh, this year they wanted to appeal to a wide range of readers; I see now... This is writ ironic.) (via Read Alert).

Re: the Inkys—no way does that Golden one have my name on it, with Shaun Tan's The Arrival on the same longlist.

But hey!, Red Spikes is nominated for a World Fantasy Award. (Raucous yell—Shaun in different category.)

Yay, Shaun! Yay, Margo!

Happy Little Vegemites

Colleen Mondor and the SBBT group are organising an Australian-themed children's and teen literature multi-blog gabfest; we are the first country out of the blocks for the First One Shot World Tour. Here is the schedule and where to find it all. From US Wednesday, Aus. Thursday.

12 August, 2007

Shared worlds

Jason Nahrung examines the phenomenon of the shared-world fantasy series over at the Courier-Mail.

A blast from the past

Here is a new review of The Best Thing, my 1995 YA novel (Allen & Unwin). That's going back a ways...

08 August, 2007

I just pressed 'Send'.

07 August, 2007

THE END of the novel

Well, the 117,000 words of Tender Morsels is currently printing out for its final check before being sent off via Allen & Unwin to all four publishers (Aus, US, UK and German) for editing—this feels like a cross between sending someone into a dark alley to be beaten up, and sending them into a brightly lit operating theatre where they will be carefully dismembered. But it's okay, I think I can manage to keep myself intact throughout the process.

And seeing as I didn't expect to be at this point even by December this year, or possibly ever again (thank you, Jan and Lee and the WOW weekenders!), I'm allowed to take a moment to feel hugely relieved, I think. (Before I rush off to finish those overdue short stories—oops!)

And to celebrate with a spot of colour, here is a photo, one of many by Ione Rucquoi, that partly captures the feeling of the book. Go, Muddy Annie, out into the world!

06 August, 2007

The Singing Stones advance copy

Nice job, Zoe!

Don't know if you can see at this size, but that dog at the top left of the circle is called Bee-Joo, and the two long, thin bandits to the right of the mountain are a brother-and-sister outfit called Dutch Rose and Antwerp Rose. Very nasty types.

This will be out in September from ABC Books via Allen & Unwin. For readers 8–12, about.

02 August, 2007

'Winkie' might get an INKY!

I'm reposting this with official permission of Lili:

Allen & Unwin (thanks, Lisa!) tell me that Red Spikes has been longlisted for the inaugural INKY AWARDS—Australia's first Young Adult Choice Award (an initiative from Inside a Dog). Lili Wilkinson of the Centre sez:
The INKYS will be coordinated by the Centre for Youth Literature through insideadog.com.au. A longlist of 20 books will be selected by the Centre (10 Australian and 10 international), and a shortlist will be picked by a panel of young people, insideadog's Lili Wilkinson and Voiceworks editor Ryan Paine.

The shortlist (3 Australian books, 3 international) will then be published on insideadog, and young people will be invited to vote either on the site or by SMS.

The Australian winner will take home the Golden Inky (and a cash prize), and the International winner will take home the Silver Inky.

Oh my god, she's escaped from the Red Spikes cover!

I guess she was annoyed at being LOLYA'd.