The Writer and the Critic: Episode 44

The latest episode of our podcast is now available for direct download and streaming from the website or via subscription from iTunes. Feedback is most welcome!

[We regret to advise that there is some questionable audio for the first five minutes or so of this episode due to an unnoticed fault somewhere in the recording equipment. We sincerely apologise and ask that our lovely listeners persevere regardless. Thankfully, it doesn’t last for long.]

This episode of The Writer and the Critic was recorded live at Continuum 11: Southern Skies — the Melbourne speculative fiction and pop culture convention. In keeping with tradition, the special guests on the podcast were the convention’s Guests of Honour, Tansy Rayner Roberts and R.J. (Rebecca) Anderson, who each recommended a favourite novel to talk about.
After introductions and some entertaining banter concerning Doctor Who fan fic, chocolate-mousse-filled cronuts and secret author identity crises, the discussion moves on to the books. Rebecca’s pick was The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner (15:40) while Tansy chose Growing Rich by Fay Weldon (59:20).


Fans of Fay Weldon might also be interested to know that the 1992 mini-series of Growing Rich is available to view in full on YouTube. You’re welcome.

If you’d skipped ahead to avoid spoilers, it’s safe to come back at 1:31:30 for final remarks.

For the next episode, Kirstyn has chosen The Godless by Ben Peek while Ian is recommending The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison. Read ahead and join in the spoilerific fun!



Interim: Twelve Planets Podcast at Embiggen Books

I’ve been very remiss in reporting back about the fabulous Continuum 8 last weekend, and I hope to rectify that very soon, but here’s a little podcast I wanted to get up ASAP. Because of the convention, a whole bunch of normally interstate folks were in Melbourne and so it was deemed an appropriate opportunity for most of the Twelve Planet authors to get together and record an interview. There were nine of us altogether, as well as our indomitable publisher, Alisa Krasnostein, and Ian Mond very kindly volunteered to host and ask questions. The podcast was recorded at Embiggen Books, which I am ashamed to say I had not previously visited, and which I am somewhat fearful to say I will now visit a little too often … It was great fun to catch up with everyone, if somewhat daunting to be in the same room as all these tremendously talented women!

Anyway, the podcast is now available for direct download and streaming from the website or via subscription from iTunes. Hope you enjoy it!

Here are the show notes:

In collaboration with Twelfth Planet Press and recorded live at the beautiful Embiggen Books in Melbourne, The Writer and the Critic is delighted to present a special podcast dedicated to the critically acclaimed Twelve Planets series of short story collections.

Twelfth Planet Press

Join host Ian Mond as he interviews Twelve Planet authors Deborah Biancotti, Narrelle M. Harris, Deborah Kalin, Margo Lanagan, Rosaleen Love, Kirstyn McDermott, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Lucy Sussex and Kaaron Warren, along with publisher Alisa Krasnostein. It’s a fun, informal conversation which — and this is how you know it’s not an official Writer and Critic episode — goes for less than 50 minutes! You’re welcome.

Twelve Planets at Embiggen Books

Photographs by Jason Nahrung

The Twelve Planets are twelve boutique collections by some of Australia’s finest short story writers. Varied across genre and style, each collection will offer four short stories and a unique glimpse into worlds fashioned by some of our favourite storytellers. Each author has taken the brief of 4 stories and up to 40 000 words in their own direction. Some are quartet suites of linked stories. Others are tasters of the range and style of the writer. Each release will bring something unexpected to our subscriber’s mailboxes.


Dreams and Fulfillment with Nicole Murphy

The Secret Ones by Nicole Murphy

I totally forgot to even mention this!

The wonderful Nicole Murphy, author of the Dream of Asarlai urban fantasy trilogy, has been hosting series of posts from guest authors on the theme of “Dreams and Fulfillment” over at her blog. My post lives here but it’s definitely worth your time to read through what everyone else has written on the subject. Personally, I loved what Tansy Rayner Roberts has to say about the Dream of Getting Published (and what comes next), as well as Justina Robson’s thoughts on the importance of dreams for ensuring a fulfilled life in general.  Many thanks to Nicole for having us all over to her place. Hope we didn’t leave too many crumbs on the carpet or wine stains on the tablecloth.

Meantime, Rabbit Hole both worked and didn’t work. I didn’t reach my hoped-for word count, but I did force myself to sit and think through problems until I fixed them instead of wandering off to do something else. The novel is progressing well again and I’m actually feeling excited about where it’s heading. 🙂

Aurealis Awards 2010

Aurealis Award 2010

The Aurealis Awards were announced in a glittery — and, at times, shoeless — ceremony in North Sydney on Saturday night and I was absolutely thrilled that Madigan Mine won Best Horror Novel. So thrilled that the just-in-case list of names I’d been intermittently rehearsing all day flew out of my head and the first thing I managed to say after been handed the award by the inimitable Kaaron Warren was, “Wow, it’s heavy.” In my defence, it is quite heavy. It’s also very, very pretty. 🙂

But I did manage to thank everyone I needed to thank and surprised myself by becoming just a wee bit emotional up there on the stage. I’m really, really grateful to receive this particular award. Madigan Mine took so long to go from initial spark of inspiration to final publication — a time which spanned some very difficult years in my life, personally and creatively — and to be awarded the Aurealis at the end of all that … well, I am so very happy right now.

It truly was a fantastic night. SpecFaction in Sydney have taken over the running of the Aurealis Award from Fantastic Queensland — who did an extraordinary job of hosting them up in Brisbane for the past six years — and it was wonderful to see the baton passed to such and enthusiastic and hard-working team. Nathan Burrage, Susan Wardle and the rest of the organising committee deserve huge kudos for putting on such a great show. Highlights included Garth Nix‘s dry humour as MC, Rob Hood‘s quirky visual presentation slideshows, the divine Angela Slatter accepting not one but two awards in bare feet, and Tansy Rayner Roberts gracious and moving  — and well-prepared! — acceptance speech upon receiving the award for Best Fantasy novel.

Wine was drunk, carousing was had, old friends were caught up with and new friends were made. It reminded me once again how special, close-knit and supportive the Australian speculative fiction community really is. As I possibly failed to articulate clearly enough in my acceptance speech, I feel proud and honoured and so very grateful to be able to count myself among their number.

As has become customary on such occasions, the multi-talented Cat Sparx was on hand with her trusty camera to provide a superb pictorial chronicle of the evening. The full set lives over on Flickr but I want to include this photo of myself and my beloved, Jason Nahrung, right here. (Thanks, Cat — you always take the best photos of us!)

Kirstyn McDermott and Jason Nahrung at 2010 Aurealis Awards


CHILDREN’S FICTION (told primarily through words)
• The Keepers, Lian Tanner, Allen & nwin

CHILDREN’S FICTION (told primarily through pictures)
• The Boy and the Toy, Sonya Hartnett (writer) & Lucia Masciullo (illustrator), Penguin Viking

• A Thousand Flowers, Margo Lanagan, Zombies and Unicorns, Allen & Unwin

• Guardian of the Dead, Karen Healey, Allen & Unwin

• Changing Ways Book 1, Justin Randall, Gestalt Publishing

• The Girl With No Hands, Angela Slatter, Ticonderoga Publications

• Wings of Fire, edited by Jonathan Strahan and Marianne S. Jablon, Night Shade Books

• The Fear, Richard Harland, Macabre: A Journey Through Australia’s Darkest Fears, Brimstone Press

• Madigan Mine, Kirstyn McDermott, Pan Macmillan

FANTASY SHORT STORY (joint winners)
• The February Dragon, LL Hannett & Angela Slatter, Scary Kisses, Ticonderoga Publications
• Yowie, Thoraiya Dyer, Sprawl, Twelfth Planet Press

• Power and Majesty, Tansy Rayner Roberts, HarperVoyager (HarperCollins)

• The Heart of a Mouse, K.J. Bishop, Subterranean Online (Winter 2010)

• Transformation Space, Marianne de Pierres, Orbit (Hachette)

• Helen Merrick

The full list of finalists can be found here. My sincere and heartfelt congratulations to everyone!

Bookshelves and things with which to fill them


For those of us with more books than space to keep them, may I introduce you to Bookshelf Porn. A fabulous collection of images featuring bookshelves, libraries and piles and piles and piles of books. Some pretty amazing designs, many of which I’d love to one day have in my own home. Of course, my home would need to be a tardis, but hey, a girl can dream. Mmm, books. Mmm, bookshelves.

If you do happen to have more space than books in your life — how? do you do it? — then I have a couple of suggestions which might help to fill that void.

Power and Majesty is the first volume in the Creature Court trilogy by Tansy Rayner Roberts and it now has a pretty new trailer for you to watch. Magic and mystery and shape-changing creatures, oh my!  Power and Majesty is available right now from all good bookstores — and possibly a handful of evil ones — with volumes two and three due out in January 2011 and July 2011 respectively. See, you won’t even have long to wait to see how the whole story ends.

Australis Imaginarium

Or perhaps you would care to consider the latest offering from FableCroft Press, Australis Imaginarium, due out for AussieCon3 in September but available for pre-order now (there’s a tasty discount if you elect to pick it up in person at the convention). Edited by Tehani Wessely, with beautiful cover art by Shaun Tan and an impressive list of contributors that includes the likes of Deborah Biancotti, Margo Lanagan, Angela Slatter, Lucy Sussex and Sean Williams, this collection of Australian speculative fiction will most certainly be on my list of Books Which Must Be Bought.