2020 Snapshot: Shauna O’Meara

Shauna O’Meara is an Aurealis and Ditmar Award winning Canberran writer and artist whose stories have appeared in Cosmos Magazine, Interzone (UK), Everything Change (US), Dimension 4 and a range of Australian and overseas anthologies. Shauna is the illustrator of the Twelfth Planet Press children’s novelette Winter’s Tale and her work has been short-listed for the Aurealis Awards, Norma K. Hemming Award, Australian Shadows Award and Ditmar Award. She can be found on Twitter at @OMearaShauna 

1. Tell us about your recent publications/projects.

My last official publications were the illustrated novella Winter’s Tale for Twelfth Planet Press (author: Nike Sulway), a novelette called ‘Scapes Made Diamond for Interzone 280 and an internal illustration for Russell Kirkpatrick’s new novel Silent Sorrow. ‘Scapes Made Diamond is currently nominated for two Aurealis awards as of this writing and is probably my favourite short-form story I have created to date (thanks to editor Andy Cox for giving it a chance).

I have not, however, been resting on my laurels. In the last eight months, I have been moving heavily toward the screenwriting and TV fields as the visual medium has long been my passion. In November through to February, I completed Screen Canberra’s TV POD and pitched a completed story bible and 12-part series to representatives from four of Australia’s major TV production companies. Of course, Covid scuttled a lot of shows in 2020, so I am currently two-thirds of the way through writing that series as a Y.A. sporting novel, which I plan to have ready to pitch to agents by September.

I also completed two intensive courses in film and TV writing, which netted me a neat little freelance gig doing character and story development (treatment writing) for an L.A. development crew earlier this year (2020). I have since sent them script samples and it is looking like I might have a chance to co-write should a script subsequently go ahead.

Otherwise, aside from the YA novel, I have two feature film scripts of my own in the planning stages. It is my desire to add to the legacy of great Australian genre films that began long ago for a baby version of me with Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome.

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

I have enjoyed all the projects that I have done over the years, in both the writing and illustration field, and have worked with some fabulous editors, creatives, and publishing folks. Overall, I find the Australian speculative fiction scene warm, supportive, and passionate and I could not hope to find a better group of people to call friends and colleagues.

As far as favourite projects go, the Winter’s Tale project I worked on last year for the wonderful Alisa Krasnostein as part of her Titania children’s imprint (a branch of Twelfth Planet Press) is one that is dear to my heart. With Winter’s Tale, author Nike Sulway crafted an exquisite story of found family and secret magic that I took much delight in illustrating. It is a book that I would love more people to check out.

The other project I am proud to have contributed to is the Everything Change anthology put out by Arizona State University Press a few years ago. This anthology comprised the twelve winning entries of a climate fiction contest as judged by university climate scientists and climate fiction writer, Kim Stanley Robinson. I was proud when my story On Darwin Tides made the cut as I had put four months into the research and was glad to have achieved that science fiction combination of strong narrative and scientific accuracy. It has since gone on to have good reviews, Chinese translation, and be included in climate fiction teaching lists.

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

As someone whose writing career is beginning to dip a toe into the screenplay format, I am a keen follower of Australian film, always on the lookout for indie speculative fiction offerings with an Australian flavour. Most folks overseas are aware of Australian blockbusters like Mad Max: Fury Road and visceral horrors like SawWolf Creek and The Babadook, as well as films with a New Zealand sense of humour like Thor: Ragnarok, directed by New Zealander, Taika Waititi. But our two islands are punching above their weight with some stunning, thoughtful indie offerings as well.

The Hunter:  

Starring Willem Dafoe and set in the magnificent, rugged wilderness of remote, cold Tasmania, this is a stunning, quiet burn of a piece about the hunt for the last Tasmanian Tiger and the pharmaceutical company that will go to any lengths to keep its piece of it. It is a contemporary science fiction premise bound to a story about family loss, environmentalism, corporate greed and Australia’s shameful treatment of an entire species. This is one of my favourite films of all time and a treat for anyone who likes mountains shifting in the mist, atmospheric music, and gutsy big sisters.

These Final Hours:

As a wave of nuclear fire thunders around the globe destroying all in its path, one young bloke is traveling to get pissed at the last backyard party at the end of the world. But then he meets a lost young girl who really needs his help…

Gorgeously shot and acted, this is one of those films where low budget, realistic characters, and down-to-earth, very human motivations deliver something far more real and heartfelt than many blockbusters achieve. In the end, it is two strangers finding connection when everything else is lost.


This noirish and meticulously plotted and twisty story of a time travel agent leaping through timelines to prevent an act of terrorism was made in Australia and is a great showcase of the kind of spec fic films this country is capable of. Ethan Hawke is in it, but the star of the movie is Australia’s Sarah Snook, who brings an earnest, grounded pathos to the main role of Jane/John Doe. In the world of Predestination, good things come to those who wait; but only the things left behind by those who hustle.


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