2020 Snapshot: Shane W Smith

Shane W Smith is an award-winning Australian graphic novelist and screenwriter who works across a broad spectrum of genre fiction. His books have been shortlisted for awards a total of six times, including twice for the fan-favourite Undad. His epic fantasy graphic novel, Triumviratus was the first graphic novel ever to win the Best Fiction award in the ACT Writing and Publishing Awards.

1. Tell us about your recent publications/projects?

Since the last snapshot I participated in (2016, I believe), I’ve released three more graphic novels: the All The King’s Men sci-fi anthology; the epic fantasy Triumviratus, a 500 page limited edition deluxe hardcover; and the third volume of the zombie-family-drama Undad trilogy (noting that I promised quite emphatically in the last snapshot that the series was finished with Volume Two).

In the last couple of years, I’ve also started building towards a career in screenwriting, and my current projects in this space include an award-winning Black Mirror spec script about a video game as a tool of genocide, and a post-apocalyptic survival comedy TV pilot script.

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

Over the last fifteen years, I’ve enjoyed all manner of personal and professional highlights; it’s quite difficult to pick just one. I’ve made some fantastic friends, gained some remarkably devoted readers, had a musical composition based on my books, won government grants to produce more books, guested on podcasts, conducted workshops, talked on panels, attended award ceremonies, had professional actors table read my scripts, and learned a whole lot about myself in the process. Going in, I never imagined I’d get to experience any of this stuff. I feel unbelievably lucky.

But gun to my head, there’s nothing quite like having a writer you really respect approach you to tell you how much they enjoyed your book. It might be the only effective remedy for impostor syndrome that I’ve found.

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

I’m a fairly recent convert to Kaaron Warren’s work, and now I can’t get enough. I particularly enjoyed The Grief Hole and Into Bones Like Oil.

I’m thrilled that Max Barry has a brand new book out (Providence). I’m still waiting for my copy to arrive, and can’t wait to sink my teeth into it.

I’d also like to shout out some of the Australian comics writers doing tremendous things in the spec fic space, including Miranda Richardson (Hail), Ryan K Lindsay (Eternal), and Tim Stiles (Mime of My Life).

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