2020 Snapshot: David Schembri

David Schembri is an author, artist, genre poet and designer from rural Victoria, Australia. He is the author of the horror collections, Unearthly Fables (2013) and Beneath the Ferny Tree (2018), which received a nomination at the  Australian Shadows Awards for best collected work.

David’s poetry has been published in several issues of the Hippocampus Press Magazine, Spectral Realms, edited by S.T. Joshi. The Anno KlarkAsh-Ton Anthology by Rainfall Books, and their magazines: Strange Sorcery and Creepy Nightmares. His latest poem is published in issue 13 of Midnight Echo.

David lives with his lovely wife and children.

1. Tell us about your recent publications/projects?

My latest publication was, Beneath the Ferny Tree, an illustrated collection of my short horror stories. The book was published by Melbourne house, Close Up Books, and included previously published short fiction, poems and a new horror story, Atlantica, written specifically for the project. This was my second collection, and I was thrilled to get the news that is was nominated for ‘Best Collected Work’ at the 2018 Australian Shadows awards.

I have recently received a contract for a new short story, Something Good, which will be published in the anthology, Impact! Volume 2, by Aussie Writers in Canberra.

Lastly, projects that I’m currently working on are: A fantasy novel (illustrated), a graphic novel (homeless project at the moment), and I’m also illustrating a children’s book for a new Melbourne writer. So, a lot in the pipeline, and I’m trying to resist the temptation to answer so many anthology calls.

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

I value any publication willing to work with me. Everyone of them has a special place, as all writers would relate, there isn’t really an acceptance letter or email that doesn’t leave its mark; providing that bounce in your step. I have been very grateful to have some highlights, but one special time, would have to be the book launch and release of my first collection, Unearthly Fables. This event was held at Readings Bookstore in Hawthorn, Victoria. There were over sixty in attendance, and I was honoured to have a few Speculative Fiction community members come and say ‘Hi!’ There is nothing quite like having the support of ones wife and children, helping me set up the event and cater. Very important people in life were there, and my editor even sent a letter, which was read out. The room was full, my excerpt reading was received with a heart warming applause, and I was also humbled to have author and friend, Devin Madson, introduce me. It was an unforgettable experience and books few off the shelves, even after the book fight.

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

This is a very hard question to answer. I am such a fan of so many writers in our community. For a recent work, I will note Nine Tales by Pete Aldin. This is a diverse and lively collection of exquisitely written fiction. Tales that grab the backbone and give it a good shake. I wish I could note others as I’ve read quite a few over the past year, and they are all worthy of a mention. We are in an expanding era of writers, where genre boundaries are being explored to greater horizons, and a growing quality of anthology releases are being released, as well as single author works. It is an exciting time.

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