Author Spotlight – Jenny Blackford

Hi Jenny, thank you for joining us. Can you tell us about who you are and also about your writing: for example, what genres and themes do you write in and about, and is there anything that has influenced your choices?

If not for Reagan, Thatcher et al starting the slow demise of university arts departments worldwide, I would probably be a Classics academic somewhere, working on religion, myth and daily life in the Bronze Age and Classical Aegean, and writing the occasional poem of my own. As things turned out, I retrained with IBM as a specialist in computer data communications in Melbourne. I’m now retired from that, back in Newcastle and writing poetry and prose for people of all ages, often involving time.

I love pretty much all the genres: science fiction, fantasy, historical, romance, crime and mash-ups of them all. Particularly in my historical fiction, I’m keen on keeping my work true to the daily life of actual people who wore real clothes (seldom as fancy as those on statues and pots), ate food (mostly lentils and unappealing root vegetables, until relatively recently), walked to the market every day to buy food, draw jugs of water and so on – especially including the slaves and servants, who were most definitely also people. For every princess, there were thousands of slaves and peasants.

Can you tell us a bit about your publications and writerly highlights, and what else we can look forward to seeing from you in the future?
My big recent highlight is that my 2019 novel The Girl in the Mirror, published by Eagle Books (an imprint of Armidale publisher Christmas Press) has recently been awarded the Davitt award for Best Children’s Crime Novel. (If you follow that last link, you will see what the judges and I said in the (safely virtual) ceremony.) The Davitt awards are very ably run by Sisters in Crime Australia. Winning the Children’s Davitt award for The Girl in the Mirror is very special.

Another major highlight: in March 2020, Pitt Street Poetry published my third collection of poetry, The Alpaca Cantos. The teal cover with the Chauvet Cave style alpacas is just gorgeous. If you follow that link, you will see great reviews from Mary Soon Lee, Magdalena Ball, Alison Goodman and Judy Johnson and Emma Lee.

Where can we find out more about you and your work?  
My own website: www.jennyblackford.com
The Pitt Street Poetry website: https://pittstreetpoetry.com/poet/jenny-blackford/
The Eagle Books website: https://eaglebooksadventure.com/2020/10/01/what-the-davitt-awards-judges-and-jenny-said-at-the-awards-ceremony/

Thanks, Jenny. What a fabulous 2020 you’ve had. Congratulations on the Davitt and your recent release.

Jenny’s poems “Pythia Speaks” and “An Afterlife of Stone” appear in Trickster’s Treats 4: Coming, Buried or Not! a charity anthology in support of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.


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