2020 Snapshot: Tania Fordwalker

Tania Fordwalker lives with a white dog, a black cat, and a large quantity of books that do double duty as useful insulation through Tasmania’s cold winter months. A former Disney animator, she now writes speculative fiction and YA. Her work has appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Reckoning, PodCastle and more. She is part of the Clarion West ‘Plague Year’ cohort of 20/21, is the recipient of George R R Martin’s Worldbuilders Scholarship, and is represented by Valerie Noble of the Donaghy Literary Group. For her sins, she is planning to start a PhD in Creative Writing next year.

1. Tell us about your recent publications/projects?

My latest short story is called ‘The Woods Echo Back’. Written as part of my in-progress Honours thesis, it’s soon to appear in Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Set in the 17th century, it tells the story of a boy and his trapper father who together find a rare infant wyvern in the Black Forest. The boy rescues and raises the wyvern as a beloved pet, but as it grows, the trapper sees how valuable it has become, and tensions rise between the pair.

I’m one of the Clarion West 20/21 cohort, so I’m also turning out a short story per week for the next six weeks (in place of doing so more seriously for the actual workshop, which has been rainchecked to next June). And I’ve just found representation with a US literary agent, so my novel manuscript is going to get some extra love over the next couple of months ahead of submission to publishers.

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

Am I allowed to cheat this answer and say “the last three months”? In that time, I’ve been accepted into Clarion West, had a story picked up by dream market Beneath Ceaseless Skies (and got to work on it with Scott Andrews, who is an amazing editor), and landed a passionate and driven literary agent. I was also able to quit my job to focus on finishing my Honours at UTAS, and it’s now looking very likely I’ll be able to do my PhD in Creative Writing starting next year. It’s been a whirlwind time, and this run of good news was definitely a welcome counterpoint to everything else going on in the world at the same time.

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

I enjoyed the YA novel Hive by A J Betts – it uses one of my favourite dystopian settings, the “post-apocalyptic shelter whose inhabitants have forgotten they’re in a shelter”.

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