2020 Snapshot: Rivqa Rafael


Rivqa Rafael writes speculative fiction about queer women, Jewish women, cyborg futures, and hope in dystopias. Her short stories have been published in Strange Horizons, GlitterShip,Escape Pod, and elsewhere. She co-edited award-winning feminist robot anthology Mother of Invention. She can be found online at rivqa.net or on Twitter as @enoughsnark.

1. Tell us about your recent publications/projects?

I’ve been hard at work on my alternate history Jewish convict novel for more than a year now, so it’s been a quiet time for shorter publications. My most recent, a queer dybbuk story, was published in November 2019 in Strange Horizons, where it’s free to read or listen to (http://strangehorizons.com/fiction/whom-my-soul-loves/). Both of these works, like most of what I’m writing lately, are ways of engaging with my culture, heritage and experience as a queer Jewish woman.

2. What has been the best publishing experience of your career so far?

Honestly, I’ve been so fortunate I couldn’t possibly choose. I’ve worked with some amazing editors who’ve varied in their approaches but have always added so much value to my stories. Community endeavours, from attending my first convention (Conflux 2013) to judging the Aurealis Awards, have likewise been very positive for me. I’ve had wonderful mentorship and writing group experiences too. The common thread here is that although it can feel solitary, writing works best as a shared experience, whether it’s collaboration or simply encouraging each other.

3. Which recent Australian/NZ work would you recommend to international fans interested in expanding their Antipodean spec fic knowledge?

Note: personal biases ahead, but it’s not my fault my friends are talented!

Anything by Thoraiya Dyer, for starters. Thoraiya’s work is always thoroughly researched, beautifully written, and deeply moving. Her most recent is in Clarkesworld. Claire Coleman’s Terra Nullius is hard-hitting spec fic; I haven’t yet read her more recent novel, The Old Lie, but I’m confident it’ll be just as good. Twelfth Planet Press puts out consistently good work; I can’t not recommend Mother of Invention (which I co-edited with Tansy Rayner Roberts) but I also loved Stephanie Gunn’s novella Icefall.

All of the above lean sci-fi, so if epic fantasy is more your thing, try Sam Hawke’s City of Lies or Thoraiya’s Titan’s Forest trilogy; for horror you can’t go past our heroes of the genre, Margo Lanagan, Angela Slatter and Karren Warren. Or if you want something lighter, Tansy’s serialised fiction is a breath of comforting air.


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