Australian Speculative Fiction: writers, editors, publishers
Interview by Ben Peek
Brendan Duffy has won two Aurealis Award for best short Science Fiction in the last two years. His most recent win, 'Come to Daddy' is in Agog! Smashing Stories.
1) You're a new writer on the scene, having emerged from 2002's Agog! Fantastic Fiction anthology. Four years down the track, you find your work regularly appearing in Australia, you've won 2 Aurealis Awards, and been picked up for the Hartwell Year's Best. How's that sit with your now, and has it changed the kind of fiction you writer, or are you still motivated by the same desires?
Yeah, I'm still Jenny from the block, keepin it real and staying true to my hood, tho the recognition I've received has left me a little giddy, but it has kept me writing, which is good, because that's my therapy. Oh sure I'm still motivated by the same desires to write, using the same themes, those little buggers will never let me be, tho of late I have felt less inclined to release the grungier work that I started out with, so I countered that by immediately sending some out. One change is that I'm now planning longer works.
2) You've picked yourself up a writing grant from the Australia Council for the Arts, which is excellent. What made you try for one and what are your plans with the money and time?
I knew grants were achievable because a friend received one 2 years back, so I tried because of the Hartwell sale, and because the worst that could occur was that I not receive a grant, so I had nothing to lose but my full time job. I've used the grant to take time off work to draft a novel.
3) Your honest opinion of the quality of the local scene, it's positives and negatives.
I totally dig the local scene. My partner gave me an Orb, so I read it and thought I'd have a go at writing spec fic short stories. I stopped reading novels and just read local short stories, anything I could get my hands on, then branched out from there, joined a writing group, started going to cons. Sure, I haven't liked all I've seen, but the scene caters for different tastes, and there are sub genres I don't like. We certainly don't have a shortage of great writers, and Im glad things are picking up.
positives. I really liked meeting everyone, writers, editors, fans, it was great to be able to read the work, then meet the folks and buy the t shirt. I found the spec fic community really open and welcoming, which allowed me to easily shift from scientist to writer. And I really liked the fact that it was us, not US or UK or whatever. if it was crap, it was our crap, if it was good, it was our good. That is important to me, not for contrived nationalistic reasons defined by coorporations or political parties, but because we are a group of individuals in the act of anarchically defining ourselves and our place. Footballs, meat pies, kangaroos, and holden cars, sugar spice all things nice, frogs snails etc. All grist.
negatives. We are a small group, subjected to the things that effect small groups.
4) You're dead. Despite your wishes, there was no statue. Best not to think about it. You go to Heaven (assuming there is, blah blah) and God is there, waiting. What do you say?
Prove that you're conscious.
5) Favourite swear word?
My dad used to say 'jesus-bloody-fucken-christ'. He'd start slow, build speed and volume, and peak on the U in fucken, and the 'christ' just fell into sorry little pieces. It had real feeling, a yearning and despair. He'd only get it out on really special occasions, and i totally dug it. it meant everything was as bad as it could ever get, but somehow still made me privately snicker. However, nothing beats spitting out that single syllable 'fuck'.
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