Trudi Canavan

bestselling author of The Black Magician Trilogy

Trudi's Blog

Continuum 9 Report

I finished the polish of Thief’s Magic, including a search and destroy of certain words and phrases I have a habit of overusing (just, only, a moment later, etc.) and a spell check and name check, just in time to head into the convention for the cocktail party. We had a great time catching up with and meeting people, but didn’t stay long as all the deadline chasing had left me tired and with a sore back (which bugged me all weekend so we didn’t have any late nights this con).

We arrived in time for Nora Jemesin’s Guest of Honour speech, which you can read here. It was as fabulous in delivery as in content and received a big round of applause. Afterwards I helped celebrate the launch of George Ivanoff’s Gamers Rebellion, the third in a trilogy published by the other Guest of Honour, Paul Collins. Next I took advantage of Nora being in my home town to get all her books signed. Finally I set about booking a restaurant for Paul Collins for that night’s dinner, eventually finding Dion, a greek restaurant that proved a winner.

My first panel for the con was Plot 101. After two room changes – one because we had an audience two to three times the size the room could contain, the other to the foyer because the second room was on a schedule half an hour different to our panel. David, the moderator, did a fine job of wrangling both room changes and us panelists, and we had a lot of fun comparing our plotting methods.

After a quick lunch with Nora, I hung out in the foyer for a while, then got to see my first panel: a Doctor Who non-fiction panel called “Silence in the Library”. There was time for a cuppa before my next event, the “We Do This Stuff So You Can Write About It” one where several people with an expertise in something make themselves available to be questioned by authors. I’d brought in some weaving looms to demonstrate and give people the chance to try it.

We then attended the launch of Caution: Contains Small Parts, an anthology by Kirstyn McDermott, then slipped away to have an early dinner before hanging out in the bar with Russell and Jenny Blackford for a while.

We took it easy and arrived at midday in time to see the “Misappropriations” panel. After lunch with friends we returned to catch “F*** Your Knight and the Horse He Rode in On”, which was about, well, fantasy cliches. It was the last panel slot of the convention and everyone was a bit worn out and ready for the next event, the Closing Ceremony with the usual thanks and congratulations.

Afterwards we headed to Grill Steak Seafood, a restaurant I’d found the night before that promised to fulfil Nora’s wish to try kangaroo while she was in Australia, and ours to demonstrate to more people that roo is delicious. Which it did very, very well.

Overall there was a great positive vibe at the convention. I didn’t take any blog-worthy photos, unfortunately. The few I took at the con had terrible lighting, and I suffered a bout of camnesia every time I was outside the con, at restaurants and such. But I have many good memories and maybe some new writerly/fannish friends. Oh, and the new Jo Spurrier book, Black Sun Light My Way, which I’ve been looking forward to since late last year.

Continuum 9: Contraindicators


Next weekend I’ll be attending the local Melbourne convention. Since I’m very busy polishing up Thief’s Magic, I probably won’t make it to the whole convention. But I am doing a panel…

Plot 101 – Sunday 11:00 until Sunday 12:00
Tangled in your own story? Plotting can be a challenge even for the most experienced author. Learn some tricks and tips from the professionals here.

… and bringing some weaving looms in for…

We Do This Stuff So You Can Write About It – Sunday 16:00 until Sunday 17:00
What does a park ranger actually do? How do traditional handcrafts actually feel? What’s it like to cross swords?

… and I’ll be following the International Guest of Honour, Nora Jemesin, around like a fan girl, because she’s awesome.

Fearsome Journeys

This arrived in the mail last week:


And today is the official release date! Woohoo!

Fearsome Journeys, edited by the lovely Jonathan Strahan, contains a story that I had simmering away in my mind for many years about a particular kind of parasitic magic. A couple of years ago, while I was weaving on my loom and letting my mind wander, the first line popped into my head out of nowhere and suddenly I knew how to write the entire story.

It often happens like that with me and short stories. The idea floats around for years until suddenly it’s ready to be written.

As you can see, my story enjoys some fine company:

“The Effigy Engine: A Tale of the Red Hats”, Scott Lynch
“Amethyst, Shadow, and Light”, Saladin Ahmed
“Camp Follower”, Trudi Canavan
“The Dragonslayer of Merebarton”, K J Parker
“leaf and branch and grass and vine”, Kate Eliot
“Spirits of Salt: A Tale of the Coral Heart”, Jeffrey Ford
“Forever People”, Robert V S Redick
“Sponda the Suet Girl and the Secret of the French Pearl”, Ellen Klages
“Shaggy Dog Bridge: A Black Company Story”, Glen Cook
“The Ghost Makers”, Elizabeth Bear
“One Last, Great Adventure”, Ellen Kushner & Ysabeau Wilce
“The High King Dreaming”, Daniel Abraham

I love that you can buy it from the publisher or follow the retailer links on that page. Easy peasy.

Wax On; Wax Off

I’m busy polishing Thief’s Magic, making that book shine and sparkle, so I may be a bit quiet here for a while. I’ll be Tweeting my progress, though, along with the usual Twitter silliness.

Conflux9 – Junkyard Cathedral

Aaand the final Conflux post:

On the Saturday night Conflux9 held a Masquerade, which is kind of a non-compulsary dress-up party and disco with a theme. This years theme was Junkyard Cathedral, which was about recycling trash into gothic glamour.

Well, I went more for trash than glamour, converting a Royal Mail post bag into a dress and a bubblewrap satchel into a clutch:


Plenty of others got into the spirit of the theme, with torn up, trashy, recycled steampunk and gothy costumes. Here’s selection:



We danced to cheesy 80s and 90s dance music until the hotel curfew, then mingled in the bar for a few hours more. A very enjoyable night!

Conflux9 – The Ditmars

The Ditmars were announced on the Saturday night of Conflux9. They are like the Hugos in that they are voted upon by members of a conventions, our National Science Fiction Convention, and a couple of other awards are presented at the same time. I took along my zoom lens and managed to take a few good pics, though not all turned out. Here’s the best of them:

Deb Biancotti, the MC – and a fine job she did of keeping everyone in line and entertained.

Yes, there was Lego. They were creating a stand in for someone who couldn’t make it to the ceremony, I believe.


The audience, watching the proceedings with rapt attention.


And not a few nerves, I suspect.


Bill Wright had a throne. I’m not entirely sure why, but he did appear to enjoy it.


Dave Cake did the physical hard labour of delivering the awards to the winners. In this case, the Peter McNamara Award.


Which went to Nick Stathopoulos.


Bill Wright and Grant Stone presenting Russell B Farr with the A. Bertram Chandler Award.


Kirstyn McDermott receiving the Best Fan Publication in Any Medium (won jointly with Ian Mond).


Kathleen Jennings taking the Best Artwork category.


David McDonald snaffling the Best New Talent prize.


Thoraiya Dyer, who won the Best Short Story.


Kaaron Warren thrilled to receive the Best Novella or Novelette.


Nalo Hopkinson announcing the winner of the Best Novel…


… and Margo Lanagan accepting the award.

I didn’t catch everyone and not all the winners were there, so for the full results, go here.

Congratulations to the winners!

Conflux 9 – Regency Banquet

On the Friday night a Regency Banquet was held at Conflux9, with food reminiscent of the era and a troupe called Earthly Delights providing the music, dancing and dance instruction.

The band.

Maureen and I. I made the dress especially for this event, the first time I’d sewn a dress from scratch since the 90s. (Photo by Jo Kasper.)

The runner up and winner (Rachael) of the costume contest.

Richard, Aileen and Kyla

The lovely co-chair of the convention, Donna Hanson.

Regency dancing

And more Regency dancing.

Conflux9 – The Diary

Last weekend the Australian National SF Convention was held in Canberra, and sf fans, writers and publishers from all over the country gathered together for four days. I arrived mid-afternoon on the Thursday, but my official duties began the next day.

On Friday I started with a panel I’d suggested: “Where have all the Australian female fantasy writers gone?” Fellow panelists were Jane Routley, Karen Miller and Keri Arthur, and Glenda Larke filled in for Jane when she had to leave early. The answer to the above question seems to be that nearly all of us are still writing, just some have moved into other genres or subgenres, some are seizing self publishing opportunities, and that, while the the two main big publishers are taking on fewer new authors other companies, large and small, are now publishing fantasy. Women still outnumber men here, and there was a general ‘WTF?’ reaction to the lack of support for female fantasy writers overseas.

Speaking of wonderful Aussie fantasy writers, I was delighted to catch up with Anna Tambour:


I loved her first book, Spotted Lily, a tale of a woman who wants to be a famous writer but can’t be bothered putting in the work so she hires the devil to write one for her. I’m holding Crandolin, her new book, which I’m looking forward to delving into.

After lunch there was a Mass Book Signing during which I chatted to K J Parker and the lovely new editor at HarperCollins Voyager, Rochelle Fernandez. Then I caught the latter half of Marc Gascoigne’s Guest of Honour interview. I love that Australian cons invite editors and publishers as guests as well as authors, as they are always so passionate about publishing and books.

Next I did my first reading at a convention, and chose the chapter 1 of Thief’s Magic to test out on the audience. It turned out to be just a few minutes longer than the half an hour I had, and aside from a few typos I hadn’t caught it worked pretty well.

I then went to see the “Speculative Art” panel, containing Lewis Morley, Marilyn Pride, Kathleen Jennings, Shauna O’Meara and Les Peterson. (Les did the Australian covers of my first two trilogies.) During the discussion, which covered hand-made vs digital and reasonable payment for work, I sketched the panelists:


That evening’s event was a fabulous Regency Banquet, which I’m going to compose a separate post about.

Saturday began early with my second panel: “The Ethics of Immortality”. Chaired by Jenny Blackford, the other panelists were Jane Virgo, Duncan Lay, and Ian Nichols. What seemed to emerge from the discussion was that, people being very different, everyone would react to having a long or endless life in ways that reflected their mortal personality.

After lunch I caught most of Nalo Hopkinson’s Guest of Honour interview. A lovely guest with a great sense of humour, her description of her sources of inspiration and the US SF writing community were fascinating and illuminating.

Then it was time for my Kaffeklatch, a half hour of nattering to four fans that turned into a very pleasant chatty hour – especially I had met and hung out with most of the attendees by this point.

The next big event followed: the Ditmar Awards. I’m going to save that one for another post as well. (I have a lot of photos from this con.)

Afterwards I picked up two books by local fantasy writers I hadn’t got around to reading yet: his charmingness Duncan Lay and her coolness K J Taylor:


And then it was time to frock up for the last of the big events: the Masquerade Disco. Pics to come in – yes – another post.

Despite it following a very late night, I was up earlyish on Sunday to catch “Does a cover sell a book?”, discussed by Kathleen Jennings, Shauna O’Meara, Amanda Rainey, Cat Sparks, Mac Gascoigne and Rowena Cory Daniels. Lots of interesting anecdotes and examples. Marc told how one of his authors having a Pinterest board of inspirational images for her book made coming up with a cover so much easier – something I set up for Thief’s Magic as soon as I got home.

Straight after came the In Fabula-divino launch, an anthology supporting new writers that I have a small story in. (See previous post.)


And my last panel of the convention was “The Secret Lives of Authors”, about the hobbies and/or jobs authors have on the side and how they influence their writing. Elizabeth Fitzgerald chaired and Nalo Hopkinson, Glenda Larke and Dirk Flinthart joined me in showing pictures on our laptops or iPads – and Dirk even did a quick martial arts demo with an audience member. Nalo’s craft is artistic and wonderful and Glenda was the envy of many in the audience for a job that has taken her to many beautiful places.

Then that was it. The closing ceremony wound up the con and, with many new fond memories, ideas, friends, photos and books, the attendees slowly dispersed and the committee packed up everything and left. Locals and those staying another night gathered for a dead dog party at a local bar. It was a lovely end to a fabulous weekend.

Since our flight wasn’t until Monday night we were able to visit a few galleries, so by the time we headed home this was how good at keeping to my book buying ban:


But I don’t regret acquiring any of them!

Conflux Dance Card

Next weekend I’ll be attending Conflux 9, this years Australian national convention. Here’s where you’ll find me:

11:30am: Panel: Where have all the Australian female fantasy writers gone?
1:30pm: Mass book signing
3:30pm: Reading

10:00am: Panel: The Ethics of Immortality
3:30pm: Kaffeeklatsch

11:00am: In Fabula-divino Launch
12:30pm: Panel: The secret lives of authors

Usually you sign up to the Kaffeklatsch at the registration desk. I’ll be bringing some bookmarks and such to give away.

In the Mailbox: Italian The Traitor Queen

The postman brought this one to my door last week:


Italian readers can now find out what happens a the end of the Traitor Spy Trilogy, with the release of The Traitor Queen. Enjoy!