Sean Williams

2017 in Words

posted on 29 Dec 2017 at 10:53 pm

Some people freak out when they turn 50. I was looking forward to it. Perhaps because causal echoes from the future were telling me that life was about to take a marked uptick? I refuse to rule it out.

2017 is the year I went to Antarctica, Myanmar, and Kangaroo Island for the first time. (Maybe the only time for two of those destinations.) I also returned to Wilpena Pound, one of my favourite places in the world. It’s the year I first attended GenreCon in Brisbane, West Words Fest in Dubbo and the NSW Spec Fic Festival. I was honoured to be an emergency GOH for the national SF convention in Perth. It’s also the year I boycotted the US, which meant I missed out on a whole bunch of things (thanks, Trump). I visited the Aurora Australis in Hobart. I attended a writers’ retreat in Melbourne. The Australia Council for the Arts invited me to be an assessor for the mid-year grant round, and I was a judge of the SA Festival Awards for Literature. I was a panelist at the Australian Short Story Festival. Garth Nix and I launched the first book in our new series in Adelaide and Brisbane. I immersed myself in Auslan in Victor Harbour, and I worked on TV and film concepts in Auckland and Sydney.

My fiftieth book was published. I turned fifty. (That seems apt.)

The Antarctica adventure led to a long series of blog posts, followed by talks and presentations all over the country, including a panel at the Royal Institution of Australia, a plenary at GenreCon, and a GOH speech at Swancon. I’ve also been researching an alternate history novel set in the Heroic Age, which I plan to write next year, among other things. I’m also pondering other concepts inspired by the trip. One short story has already been published (see below).

After a bit of a wobbly 2016, my writing is now back on track. I’ve finished the second book of the Have Sword, Will Travel series with Garth and two solo YA novels – In My Mind and Impossible Music – that are long-term passion projects. (See below for a glimpse of the last.)

I’ve had several flash fiction stories published in Daily SF and sold another two to them: “Seeking the Great Current”, with new collaborator Matthew Cropley, and a Twinmaker story called “Loopholes in Light“. An earlier Twinmaker story “Sing, My Murdered Darlings” was honoured along with the others in Jack Dann’s stupendous Dreaming in the Dark with a World Fantasy Award for best anthology.

Have I forgotten anything? Oh yes! 2017 is also the year my wife and I decided to move to Dublin. Just for twelve months (Amanda is the incoming Keith Cameron Chair in Australian History at University College) but that’s plenty of time to engage with the local writing scene and maybe teach a little. As I write, we’re just days from leaving. My study is even messier than usual!

Watch this space for my Irish adventures in 2018.

Things you can read for free

Things you’ll have to pay (surprisingly little) for:

  • Have Sword, Will Travel (the new book with Garth – talking swords and dragons!)
  • Impossible Music” (the novella-length opening of my first mainstream novel – music, deafness and teen angst)

So, a big year with lots of positives. More to come. Don’t let me down, 51!


  1. Val Clark says:

    Stoked that you have had such a brilliant year and we, in Dubbo, were part of it. Loved meeting you and so looking forward to hearing about your Dublin adventures. BTW I did enjoy Have Sword Will Travel. Just a big kid, I guess. Safe journey and an amazingables 2018. 🙂 Val

  2. Beautiful Sean – so many positive things and I love your ‘upbeatness’. You have so much to be proud of. I hope that 2018 continues on this trajectory and that living in Dublin is fun, fulfilling, and exciting. Can’t wait to visit! Go well dear friend – we will miss you a great deal.

    • sean says:

      We will miss you enormously too. When I come back in June, we’ll definitely make a date for dinner! And we’ll always have France. 🙂 xox