Sean Williams

from twinmakers to troubletwisters (plus the odd odd poem) for readers of all ages

03/03/2019 - 03/03/2019
Adelaide, Australia
16/02/2019 - 16/02/2019
Adelaide, Australia
20/10/2018 - 28/10/2018
Many places, Many countries!
19/10/2018 - 21/10/2018
Dublin, Ireland
09/11/2017 - 12/11/2017
Brisbane, Australia

Out now from Allen & Unwin!

Latest releases:

My new novel Her Perilous Mansion is out now!

It’s a novel of nineteenth-century magic and puzzle houses and orphans trying to escape from a house in which they have become inextricably trapped (not intended as a COVID-19 metaphor, but it works!). Suitable for all ages, it’s perfect for whiling away a day or two in lockdown. Think Diana Wynne Jones meets Georgette Heyer and you’ll be on the right track.

  • “The Word Docs” – a podcast on all things writing from Amy T Matthews (aka Tess LeSue/Amy Barry), Alex Vickery-Howe and me. Free from Auscast via your favourite podcast provider.
  • Impossible Music, my first realist novel, about a musician who loses his hearing and is forced to find a new way of living, is a CBCA Notable Book and was shortlisted for the Ethel Turner Prize for Young People’s Literature in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.


Writing Impossible Music inspired me to go back to writing music under the pseudonym “theadelaidean” (follow that link for my official music website. You can find the results on Bandcamp, Soundcloud, iTunes, and now on Spotify. My latest album is Isolation from legendary Projekt Records. Composed entirely during lockdown, it’s designed to accompany us on inward journeys while we wait for the crisis to pass. Thom Buchanan created the original cover art for this album, and I just love it.

I performed part of this album live. You watch a video of that performance here. There’s a live album coming from Projekt Records in September.

For a complete list of social media details, see the bottom of this page.

Other news:

As of 2020, I am teaching Creative Writing as a full-time Senior Lecturer at Flinders University. Here’s my staff profile page.

Sean Williams was born in the dry, flat lands of South Australia, where he (usually) still lives with his wife and family and a pet plastic fish. He is the author of fifty books for readers of all ages, over one hundred and forty short stories across numerous genres, the odd published poem, one recipe (“Big Bang Brussels Sprouts”), and even a sci-fi musical. He once modified a form of Tai Chi for sci-fi fans (Sci Chi) and also likes making up new words.

He has been called many things in his time, including “the premier Australian speculative fiction writer of the age” (Aurealis), the “Emperor of Sci-Fi” (Adelaide Advertiser), the “Lord of the Genre” (Perth Writers’ Festival), and the “King of Chameleons” (Australian Book Review) for the diversity of his published output. He is a multiple recipient of the Aurealis and Ditmar Awards and has been nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award, the Locus Award, the Seiun Award, and the William Atheling Jr. Award for criticism. He also received the “SA Great” Literature Award in 2000 and the Peter McNamara Award for contributions to Australian speculative fiction in 2008.

Apart from writing, recent adventures include:

His latest solo series is Twinmaker, a near-future thriller for young adults (and old adults too). Over forty bonus short stories set in the Twinmaker universe are available online here.

With Garth Nix, he is the co-author of Have Sword, Will Travel (see the top of this page) and Troubletwisters, a fantasy for middle grade readers. In 2014, Sean and Garth co-authored the third novel in the New York Times bestselling Spirit Animals series, Blood Ties.

Recently, Sean released a selection of his earliest short stories under the pseudonym “E. W. Story“. These can be purchased either as six novella-sized e-books, or as one omnibus with a bonus novella. Here’s a link with ordering info.

Many of his short stories are now available through Curious Fictions (for a tiny, tiny fee).

More information:

On the sci-fi front, Sean has written several original award-winning space opera series as well as six novels set in the Star Wars universe, many co-written with fellow-Adelaidean Shane Dix.  These include the Astropolis, Evergence, Orphans and Geodesica series, and the computer game tie-in The Force Unleashed–the first such adaptation ever to debut at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list.

A series for young readers, The Fixers, pitted an increasingly lost protagonist against zombies, cyborgs, and vampires across numerous parallel universes.

His most recent releases in the Star Wars universe are The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance and The Force Unleashed II. Twinmaker (Jump in Australia) came out in 2013, the sequel Crashland (Crash) in 2014. Hollowgirl (Fall) concluded the series in 2015, to critical acclaim and a nomination for the Aurealis Award. The Twinmaker-related short story “All the Wrong Places” won the 2015 Aurealis Award for Best Short Story.

He is currently working with a collaborator on a TV series based on his second novel, The Resurrected Man.

His fantasy novels–inspired by the landscapes of his childhood–occupy a unique niche in Australian publishing.  These include the recently re-released Books of the Change (The Stone Mage & the Sea, The Sky Warden & the Sun, and The Storm Weaver & the Sand) and the Books of the Cataclysm (The Crooked Letter–the first fantasy novel to win both the Aurealis and Ditmar Awards, currently in development as a TV series–The Blood Debt, The Hanging Mountains, and The Devoured Earth).  His most recent entries in this world include the Broken Land series (The Changeling, The Dust Devils, and The Scarecrow) plus novellas and stories in several anthologies, including The Dragon Book, Trust Me Too and Legends of Australian Fantasy.

In 2015, New Zealand composer Sam van Betuw wrote an orchestral suite based on The Stone Mage & the Sea; it can be heard here.

Sam and Sean subsequently collaborated on the work “M-Cubed”, a meditation on future music and John Cage for Cabinet of Oddities, performed in Canberra and the 2016 Melbourne Fringe Festival.

Sean’s stories have appeared in a wide variety of publications, including Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, Galaxy’s Edge, Forever, Daily SF (where you’ll find some of his recent experiments with flash fiction), Cosmos, Reviews of Australian Fiction, Seizure, Solaris Rising 3, Meeting Infinity, Drowned Worlds, The Bulletin, Best Australian Stories, and Gardner Dozois’s Year’s Best SF anthologies. Many have been gathered in collections, including Instant Elsewhere, New Adventures in Sci-Fi, Light Bodies Falling and Magic Dirt: the Best of Sean Williams, two of which have won major Australian awards, along with the six collections of his early works that are now available under the pseudonym “E. W. Story“.

One novella, “Among the Beautiful Living Dead”, has been adapted into the short film Retrospect, while the short story “Passing the Bone” is currently in development for a feature film. “Team Sharon” was adapted for the stage by the University of Adelaide Theatre Guild in 2009. One of his short stories, “Midnight in the Cafe of the Black Madonna”, is an official story set in the Doctor Who universe.

Sean occasionally dabbles in other writing forms. His poem “Reflections on Water” formed the text for the Adelaide Zoo’s welcoming soundscape (reprinted in Tadpoles in the Torrens), while another, “Ants Attack”, in collaboration with artist Thom Buchanan formed a centrepiece of the 2015 Ruby Awards. He has been known to remix the work of other wordsmith, including Douglas Mawson, Kim Wilkins, Charles Darwin, and Gary Numan. He takes an active role in writing-related organisations and writer advocacy groups, including The Big Book Club Inc, the Adelaide Writers’ Week Advisory Committee, and the premier international representational body of speculative fiction writers, SFWA.

He is a judge of the international Writers of the Future Contest, of which he is a past winner. He is also one of only two living honourary life members of the SA Writers’ Centre and an honourary member of both the Southern Dewback Squad of the 501st Legion and the Rebel Legion Fan Organization. He has a Masters and PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Adelaide, where he remains a Visiting Research Fellow and an Affiliate of the J.M. Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice. His thesis, The “Murdering Twinmaker”: Putting Into Context an Overlooked Icon of Science Fiction, received a Dean’s Commendation for Thesis Excellence. In 2017, he was runner-up for the James McWha Award of Excellence for outstanding alumni of the University of Adelaide.

Winner of a 1984 Young Composer’s Award, his other passion is writing for music. He wrote the theme for the 2006 reading of The Soap Bubble: A Space Opera, a short work for bells and voices for performed in Melbourne in 2020, and in 2016 The Grand Silence, a musical collage inspired by the two-minute silences commemorating Armistice Day that has aired as part of  a series of live improvisations by the UnPiano Trio around the world and will be released on CD this year. His love for this artform serves as a major inspiration for Impossible Music, a novel written with the assistance of the Australia Council for the Arts and Arts SA. You can listen to or purchases numerous albums that he has released under the monicker “the_adelaidean” here.

On a personal front, he lives just up the road from the best chocolate factory in Australia, is a supporter of Feminist Frequency, Jesus & Mo, Elizabeth Sandifer and The Angriest, and is a member of the Voluntary Euthanasia Party. He likes to DJ, but only bad dance music from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. When he’s writing, he listens to a lot of Steve Roach and other ambient artists, many of which you can sample for yourself at his Bandcamp page. You can also view his recent reading via his Goodreads page.

Sean’s literary archives are held at the University of Queensland’s Fryer Library.

Social media:

Facebook: seanwilliamsauthor
Instagram: adelaidesean
Twitter: adelaidesean
Soundcloud: adelaidesean
Spotify: adelaidesean
Pinterest: adelaidesean
Storify: adelaidesean
Wattpad: adelaidesean
NaNoWriMo: adelaidesean
Tumblr: adelaidesean
LinkedIn: adelaidesean
Dreamwidth: adelaidesean (a copy of my old LiveJournal)
academia.edu: SeanWilliams

(Here’s a link to Frequently Asked Questions.)

(For more about Twinmaker, see Twinmakerbooks.com.)

(Here’s a Curriculum Vitae, accurate as at November 2017.)

(Downloadable publicity photos here, here, here, here and here. And here’s one where he looks like a mad ice wizard.)

Top photo by James Braund.

I’m really pleased to be one of the South Australian ambassadors for the National Year of Reading.

not this (awesome)

Sean Williams

"All things exist in transit from one state

to another. What is water but molten ice?

What is a sword but artfully frozen iron?"

Not to be confused with this other Sean

"What is today but yesterday's tomorrow?  What is memory but a dream of the past?"


"Hunt the moment."