2020 Snapshot: Jennifer Mills

Jennifer Mills is an Australian author currently based in Torino, Italy. Her latest novel, Dyschronia (Picador Australia) was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin, Aurealis, and Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature. Her fiction and essays have been published in Meanjin, Overland, the Sydney Morning Herald, Best Australian Stories and Best Australian Essays, Lithub, The Washington Post, and the Sydney Review of Books. She was the fiction editor at Overland for six years. Her next novel, The Airways, will be published by Picador Australia in 2021.

1. Tell us about your recent publications/projects?

I have been writing a lot of non-fiction during the pandemic, as northern Italy, where I live at the moment, has been badly affected and it’s given me a lot to think about. During lockdown, I also finished the edits on a new book called The Airways which is coming out with Picador Australia in 2021. It’s a queer ghost story set between Sydney and Beijing, and it’s pretty creepy. I switch genre a lot, so it’s been interesting to work in horror mode for a while… I’m looking forward to getting into some more short fiction now, before I get stuck in to another near-future novel.

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

In the space of a year, Dyschronia was shortlisted for both the Aurealis and the Miles Franklin Awards, which was a real thrill for me. There’s always a chance when you work across literary and SF that you will end up alienating everyone, so I was really happy that both kinds of reader found something to like in that book (of course, there are as many kinds of reader as there are readers). It was exciting for me to attend these events, and I met some great people at both of them.

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

I’ve really been looking forward to Elizabeth Tan’s new short story collection, Smart Ovens for Lonely People (Brio). Tan is a huge talent, just a really imaginative and clever writer, you never know where a story of hers will take you. I loved her novel Rubik, and I published a bit of her short fiction when I was at Overland, so I’m super keen to read the new collection.

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