29 December, 2006

Clarion South, too

And then it's straight from the Kolkata Book Fair to tutoring for a week at Fantastic Queensland's fantastic Clarion South.

No, I know I'm not listed there yet, but believe me, when they say Janeen Webb, in this case they mean Margo Lanagan. I hope no one's disappointed, but if they are—hey, it'll be the fifth week; I'll be very understanding if people just put down their heads and sleep. I have been known to do that myself in a Clarion workshop (sorry, Gordon!).

So, talk about starting off the year with a bang. Two bangs, in fact. And then ROR in Tasmania in March. Hmm, must get that novel written.

AusArts India Literature Tour—or, Why I can't go to the Aurealis Awards

I've got a near-to-final schedule for this trip now, so I guess it's real enough to blog. I'll be taking part in a tour to Chennai and Kolkata at the end of January, and to give us time to acclimatise Steven and I are flying into Chennai a week early, on 18 January.

We plan to spend a couple of days in Chennai, then go across to Kochi and Kerala, then return to Chennai to do two days of Literary Tour, then we'll fly to Kolkata for the Kolkata Book Fair 30 January–2 February.

This is all a bit too exciting. Neither of us has been to India before, although I have stolen its monkeys and elephants for stories.

Other writers on the tour this year (although not all at the same time) are: Thomas Keneally, Judith Beveridge, john Zubryzcki, Alison Lester, Bruce Bennett, Bem le Hunte, Luke Beesley, Kirsty Murray, Graham Reilly, Ron Pretty, Kevin Brophy, Lizz Murphy and Brook Emery.

21 December, 2006

Aurealis Award nominations

The finalists for the Aurealis Awards have been announced. I reproduce the list here, with appropriate highlights, so that you can appreciate the sheer quantity of bolding necessary. :)

Science Fiction finalists - Novels
  • Hydrogen Steel, K. A. Bedford (Edge)
  • K-Machines, Damien Broderick (Avalon)
  • Underground, Andrew McGahan (Allen & Unwin)
  • Geodesica: Descent, Sean Williams with Shane Dix (Harper Collins)
Science Fiction finalists - Short Stories
  • 'Dark Ages', Lee Battersby (Through Soft Air)
  • 'Aftermath', David Conyers (Agog! Ripping Reads)
  • 'Down to the Tethys Sea', Stephen Dedman (Science Fiction Chronicle #266)
  • 'The Seventh Letter', Sean Williams (Bulletin Summer Reading Edition)

Fantasy finalists - Novels
  • The Silver Road, Grace Dugan (Penguin)
  • Heart of the Mirage, Glenda Larke (Harper Collins)
  • Wildwood Dancing, Juliet Marillier (Pan MacMillan)
  • Voidfarer, Sean McMullen (Tor)
  • Blaze of Glory, Michael Pryor (Random House)
Fantasy Novel Honourable Mentions
  • White Tiger, Kylie Chan (Harper Collins)
  • Harsh Cry of the Heron, Lian Hearn (Hachette Livre)

Fantasy finalists - Short Stories
  • 'Dark Ages', Lee Battersby (Through Soft Air)
  • 'Why the Balloon Man Floats Away', Stephanie Campisi (Fantasy Magazine #4)
  • 'A Fine Magic', Margo Lanagan (Eidolon I)
  • 'The Revenant', Lucy Sussex (Eidolon I)
  • 'See Here, See There', Anna Tambour (Agog! Ripping Reads)
Fantasy Short Story Honourable Mentions
  • 'Ghosts of 1930', Lily Chrywenstrom (Borderlands #6)
  • 'The Bridal Bier', Carol Ryles (Eidolon I)
Horror finalists - Novels
  • The Pilo Family Circus, Will Elliott (ABC Books)
  • Prismatic, Edwina Grey (Lothian)
  • Carnies, Martin Livings (Lothian)
  • The Mother, Brett McBean (Lothian)
Horror finalists - Short Stories
  • 'Dead of Winter', Stephen Dedman (Weird Tales #339)
  • 'Winkie', Margo Lanagan (Red Spikes)
  • 'Hieronymous Boche', Chris Lawson (Eidolon I)
  • 'Dead Sea Fruit', Kaaron Warren (Fantasy Magazine #4)
  • 'Woman Train', Kaaron Warren (The Outcast)
Horror Short Stories Honourable Mentions
  • 'Love Affair', Jacinta Butterworth (COck)
  • 'One Night Stand', Dirk Flinthart (Agog! Ripping Reads)
  • 'Under Hell, Over Heaven', Margo Lanagan (Red Spikes)
  • 'Mosquito Story', A.M. Muffaz (Fantasy Magazine #4)
Young Adult finalists - Novel
  • Monster Blood Tattoo: Book One. Foundling, D.M. Cornish (Omnibus)
  • The King’s Fool, Amanda Holohan (ABC Books)
  • Magic Lessons, Justine Larbalestier (Penguin)
  • Wildwood Dancing, Juliet Marillier (Pan Macmillan)
  • The Last Days, Scott Westerfeld (Penguin)
Young Adult finalists - Short Stories
  • 'The Dying Light', Deborah Biancotti (Eidolon I)
  • 'Leviathan', Simon Brown (Eidolon I)
  • 'A Feather in the Breast of God', Margo Lanagan (Red Spikes)
  • 'Baby Jane', Margo Lanagan (Red Spikes)
  • 'Forever Upward', Margo Lanagan (Red Spikes)
  • 'The Arrival', Shaun Tan (Lothian)

Children's finalists - Novels - to be announced

Children's finalists - Short Stories
  • The True Story of Mary Who Wanted to Stand on Her Head, Jane Godwin (Allen & Unwin)
  • Woolvs in the Sitee, Margaret Wild, Anne Spudvilas (Penguin)
  • The Magic Violin, Victor Kelleher, Stephen Michael King (Penguin)

16 December, 2006

Australian review of Red Spikes

Terry Dowling has devoted a whole column in today's Weekend Australian to a review of Red Spikes. What's more, it's online, which saves me the bother of typing out the highlights for you. What's missing from the online version is the heading in the newspaper: A test for your grip on reality.


Oh, OK, here's the main thrust of it:
There are no instant classics in this line-up but there are memorable offerings and a fine cumulative effect. What the stories lack in strongly developed plots they make up for with close observation, stylish signature flourishes and downright charm. Most important, the reader comes away from Red Spikes knowing that Lanagan, like every really good writer, is set on shaking the storytelling tree.
Yes, and I'm hoping that the next thing to fall from the tree will be about bunya-nut size.

(Photo by Cat Sparks.)

13 December, 2006

While Scott and Markus and John...

...made it through to the YALSA Top Ten of 2006, Justine and I are happily sitting in the Best Books, muttering to each other about everyone's inappropriate clothing.

12 December, 2006

Red Spikes is an Aus. Book Review Best Book of 2006

Anna Ryan-Punch says:
'With enviable sustained inventiveness, Margo Lanagan's Red Spikes (Allen & Unwin) demonstrates how the short story can encompass so much with so small an embrace. Her deep sense of the classical, and artful blending of the surreal with the everyday, lends a mythical quality to these unsettling stories.'
Come on, you know you want to be unsettled. Being unsettled is what life's all about, right? (Perfect Christmas gift - even the right colour!)

Citizens of Albion!

Google has just alerted me to this review of Black Juice, the special, eleven-story Gollancz edition. Paul Skevington writes that
'When I had finished the first story ... I had an odd reluctance to proceed any further. because 'Singing My Sister Down' was so good and so powerful that it made me fear that if I continued further within the volume I would be sure not to encounter anything half so good again.

'Thankfully, in this I was entirely wrong.'
He reckons
'Lanagan's stories are surreal wonderlands infused with the bitter taste of reality, as beguiling as one and as morally complex as the other,'
which I think is very nicely put, and he finishes up with a flourish:
'This is a book that will shake the world of fiction, opening it up and pulling out precious salts for those of us who care about fiction as art. The repercussions will be felt for years to come.'
Now, a small, discreet English bird told me that copies of Black Juice are winging their way back to the publisher at a frightening rate, so if you want to shake someone's fictional world apart this Christmas, you'd better get a wriggle on, hadn't you?

11 December, 2006

Red Spikes US publication date...

...will be 9 October 2007.

There's some very tantalising talk going on about cover artists at the moment. I should totally ignore it and plunge into the novel.

*Google image searches some more*

'This is not a book for lazy readers...'

A nice review from Juliet Sheen of Journeys Bookstore and Cafe, which is just over in Annandale, a hop, skip and jump away.

She makes Red Spikes sound like really hard work—but at least you get a friand and a coffee as you toil from story to story. Enjoy. That means you, citizens of Annandale—and anyone who wanders over from Leichhardt or (is lucky enough to still be riding their bicycle and) wheels in from further afield.

08 December, 2006

OK, so it isn't last year's Black Juice lovefest, but...

...December Locus has plenty of Margo in it. First, she falls off her bike in Milestones—this I will show all my cycling buddies ('So when you fall off your bike, does it get noted in an International Journal? No? You are, like, so nobody!'). A few other things happen, too, to other people—you know, babies and wedding anniversaries and stuff—but Margo's Collarbone gets top billing.

Then Rich Horton reviews Jonathan Strahan and Jeremy Byrne's Eidolon I anthology and says, 'In particular I liked Margo Lanagan's quite nasty "A Fine Magic"...the magic described is lovely and scary.' To be fair, he does talk about other stories, Jeff VanderMeer's and Alastair Ong's, as well. But he talks about me first, all right?

Then Nick Gevers writes a nice fat review of Red Spikes and says it is 'no less brilliant' than the previous two collections.
Its stories are unassumingly written yet dazzlingly original, full of moral force and unsettling psychological insight...To read Lanagan is to inhabit other minds—sometimes Other ones—to a greater extent than literature customarily makes possible: the effect is hypnotic. In Red Spikes there are ten stories, ten trances masterfully induced...never simplistic, persistently wise...provocatively ambiguous moments...a formidably accomplished book.
Citizens of Sydney, you have no excuse for that stack of books at Galaxy. Go, buy your copy, and be intimidated now.

04 December, 2006

Red Spikes a Herald Best Book of 2006

Says Angie Schiavone, in the Spectrum section of Saturday's Sydney Morning Herald:
Red Spikes (Allen & Unwin), a collection of strikingly original tales by Margo Lanagan, should cement her reputation as a master of short stories.
There's nothing like a nicely cemented reputation.

(Thanks for pointing that out, Richard!)