2020 Snapshot: Glenda Larke

Although raised on an Australian farm, Glenda spent much of her adult life abroad, living in Malaysia, Austria and Tunisia. She has been an English teacher and worked as a conservationist, specialising in rainforest avifauna, even while writing fantasy. This sometimes meant that copy edits were done by lamplight in a tropical rainforest logging camp, or deadlines were met while chugging along the Kinabatangan in a fishing boat. In 2013 she retired to W.A. to live and now has four fantasy trilogies and one standalone published worldwide, and has won both the Australian Ditmar and the West Australian Tin Duck Awards. She was also the first winner of the Aurealis Sara Douglass Book Series Award for her “Watergivers” trilogy.

  1. Tell us about your recent publications/projects?

I’ve not long completed a draft of a standalone epic fantasy novel, and I’m now re-working the last chapters. It’s tentatively called The Fugitive Queen. When will it be published? I’ve no idea. My last contract specifies that Orbit UK has the rights of first refusal…

As for public appearances? Alas, Covid-19 put paid to three public events I’d signed up for this year: Swancon in Perth, Continuum in Melbourne as Australian Guest of Honour, and attendance at ConNZ — which convention I’d have been looking forward to for TEN YEARS. Sob! (I am still a participant in the ConNZ online con.)

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

Oh, that’s a tough one! Would it have been acceptance by a UK agent? Or perhaps the day my first novel, Havenstar was accepted for publication? The latter should have been the highlight, but it was one of the saddest weeks of my life because of the death of my mother.

In retrospect, I think the best experience of all must be the day in 2004 when I walked into my first SF convention. I had not even known such events existed until my agent told me I ought to track one down. I was so nervous I took along my sister as support! I walked in the door…and almost immediately I knew I’d found a home. I remember meeting Shay Tefler, Tim Powers, Adrian Bedford, Shaun Tan —  and possibly that was also where I first met my Harper Collins editor in the flesh, Stephanie Smith…Ohmigod. Swancon was like finding family. Until that moment everything I’d done — reading spec fic, writing it, thinking about it, had all been done alone. At that first convention, little did I know one day I’d be the Australian GoH at an Australian Natcon myself, thanks to the speculative fiction community.

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

 Australia not only has a vibrant spec fic community, but it has some of the best writers of short stories, anthologies, children’s books, YA novels, through to longer works of science fiction, space opera and fantasy epics. Most fans will recognise names such as Sara Douglass, Garth Nix, Juliet Marillier, Greg Egan and Trudi Canavan, but there are many more! For current fiction, I think the best advice I can give to readers from elsewhere is this: look at the shortlists of our Australian spec fic awards, especially the Aurealis, which is a judged award in many different categories. The short lists each year are a showcase of our very best. Watch out for two of the latest stars: Sam Hawke and Devin Madson, as well as the more established writers.

Past lists of winners can be found here: https://aurealisawards.files.wordpress.com/2018/06/aurealis-1995-2017-compiled-lists.pdf

For the latest award, go to the https://aurealisawards.org/


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