Margo Lanagan is an internationally acclaimed writer of novels and short stories. Her collections of short stories have garnered many awards, nominations and shortlistings.
Sea Hearts won the CBCA Book of the Year, WA Premier's Literay Award, Aurealis Award and Barbara Jefferis Award, and was shortlisted for the Adelaide Festival Award for Literature, NSW Premier Literay Awards, Queensland Literary Awards among others. Black Juice was a Michael L. Printz Honor Book, won two World Fantasy Awards and the Victorian Premier's Award for Young Adult Fiction. Red Spikes won the CBCA Book of the Year: Older Readers, was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, a Horn Book Fanfare title, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writer's Prize and longlisted for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award. Her novel Tender Morsels won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel and was a Michael L. Printz Honor Book for Excellence in Young Adult Literature. Margo lives in Sydney.
Margo on writing
‘I write because it's my way of making sense of the world. I've always loved reading, both to escape from real life and to make life more real, and I like doing both in my writing, too, writing straight realistic and fantasy stories.
‘Inspiration is pretty much everywhere. I get it from reading both good and bad writing, from watching and listening to people, from landscapes and cityscapes, from wildlife documentaries and building sites and classrooms and music. My problem is not finding ideas but finding time to pin a few of them down to a page.
‘I write a lot of stories with babies, children and young people in them, because I'm interested in the way people piece together their world for the first time. As we grow, we try to work out what's happening and why, to interpret other people's intentions. We also have fresher perceptions of atmospheres, weather, physical, social and interpersonal events, because quite often it's the first time we've encountered them
‘Red Spikes is my third collection of short stories with fantastical/science fiction/horror aspects to them. With White Time, I was trying on different styles like new hats. Black Juice settled into something closer to "my own voice", and Red Spikes is similar but, I think, a little darker. I'd recommend that people take these collections one story at a time, maybe rationing them out one per day, or one per train trip to work. If you want strange dreams, read them just before you go to sleep at night!
‘As for advice to new writers, I would say "Just do it, and keep doing it". The rewards come from sensing that you're getting better at this writing thing, that you can express more and more of your world in your own way, because your powers are always growing greater. Persistence is the main quality you need, to the point of pigheadedness and beyond.’