j. ashley-smith

dark fiction and other materials

“Ashley-Smith is a writer to watch.”

Publishers Weekly

“My favorite kind of horror story: intimate, whip-smart, and relentless.”

Nathan Ballingrud

“An active, lucid, melancholy voice – half love, half fear, and all wonder.”

Kathe Koja

“Acutely observed, frequently surprising, this is fiction of the highest order.”

John Langan

“J. Ashley-Smith is one of the best dark fiction writers working today.”

Alan Baxter

“The kind of oblique, unsettling fiction I’m always looking for and too rarely find.”

Lynda E. Rucker

“Impeccable and haunting stories filled with longing, frailty, and a most human sense of awe in the face of their horrors.”

Paul Tremblay

fiction

The Measure of Sorrow cover
Ariadne, I Love You cover
The Attic Tragedy cover

about

J. Ashley-Smith writing in a notebook

J. Ashley Smith is a British–Australian writer of dark fiction and co-host of the Let The Cat In podcast.

J.’s first book, The Attic Tragedy, won the Shirley Jackson Award.  Other stories have won the Ditmar, Australian Shadows, and Aurealis awards. The Measure of Sorrow, his first short story collection, is out now from Meerkat Press.

J. was born in Cambridge, UK, and spent his childhood hiding with imaginary companions in the foundations of an Edwardian townhouse. He studied film and creative writing, then lost fifteen years to the British indie music scene, clothed in unfashionable sweaters, releasing unpopular records. He now lives with his wife and two sons in the suburbs of North Canberra, gathering moth dust, tormented by the desolation of telegraph wires.

J. haunts the internet as @SpookTapes and can be contacted at spooktapes[at]gmail[dot]com.

let the cat in

Polaroid photo of Aaron Dries, J. Ashley-Smith and Kaaron Warren

Let The Cat In is the podcast in which Kaaron Warren, Aaron Dries, J. Ashley-Smith and their guests riff on objects, inspiration, and those ideas that scratch at the door, miaowing to be let in.

Guests to date include Nathan Ballingrud, Alan Baxter, JS Breukelaar, Isobelle Carmody, Brian Evenson, Kathe Koja, John Langan, Paul Mannering, Lee Murray, TR Napper, Dan O'Malley, Garth Nix, Sarah Read, Lynda E. Rucker, Melinda Smith, Cat Sparks, Paul Tremblay, Sean Williams and more!

Follow the show on:
Apple Podcasts  |  Spotify  |. Google Podcasts  | or your favourite podcast player

materials

Sign up for my newsletter – get a free story!

Sign up for my newsletter – get a free story!

I’m excited to share that I’ve set up a newsletter over on Substack. If you want to receive a steady(ish) stream of insights, inspirations, obsessions, updates, recommendations and fascinations, as well as the occasional giveaway or free story, right into your inbox, then I’d love you to subscribe!

Aurealis shortlist

Aurealis shortlist

Downright chuffed to learn The Measure Of Sorrow is on the Aurealis Award shortlist for best collection.

AsylumFest 2023

AsylumFest 2023

Another year, another road trip to beautiful Beechworth Asylum with notorious Canberra hoodlums Kaaron Warren, Aaron Dries, Robert Hood, Cat Sparks.

Conflux 17

Conflux 17

Absolutely knackered after an immense weekend at Conflux 17. Remind me next year not to sign up for so much stuff!

Donderevo on Spotify

Donderevo on Spotify

Thanks to the magic of modern technology, the full Donderevo back catalogue is now up on Spotify.

The Measure of Sorrow – Melbourne launch

The Measure of Sorrow – Melbourne launch

Shits and giggles aplenty at the Melbourne launch of The Measure Of Sorrow on Friday night. Great to hang with friends old and new, and talk (loudly, to compete with the background noise) books and dreams and kids and leeches et al. Big thanks to Rebecca Fraser for...

The Measure of Sorrow launch party

The Measure of Sorrow launch party

Thanks to everyone who made it to Blackbird Bar for the launch last night. Was a proper banger!   Special thanks to Kaaron and Aaron, for always having my back. Thanks to Cat Sparks, Dan O'Malley, CH Pearce, and Nicole Murphy for the pics.   Love to all of youse –...

Online launch: The Measure of Sorrow

Online launch: The Measure of Sorrow

in conversation with John Langan Big thanks to everyone who rocked up to the virtual launch of The Measure of Sorrow, hosted by Meerkat Press last weekend. For those who couldn't make it (or you hardcore types committed to watching the "Director's cut"), here's the...

Trip The Dark Fantastic (BigIndieBooks)

Trip The Dark Fantastic (BigIndieBooks)

The Measure of Sorrow – Blog Tour I love a good listicle - the only trouble being having to keep it so short! Seriously, I could have kept going and going with this one, but picked these five as the collections that made the profoundest impression on me when I read...

Your Mind On Writing (Writing Forums)

Your Mind On Writing (Writing Forums)

The Measure of Sorrow – Blog Tour I had mixed feelings writing this and even more mixed feelings about sharing it, anxious that it was maybe just a bit too personal. For anyone who’s ever been strung between the highs of success fantasies and the lows of impostor...

Call of the wild and weird (T Kent Writes)

Call of the wild and weird (T Kent Writes)

The Measure of Sorrow – Blog Tour Big thanks, as always, to T Kent Writes for hosting me on this leg of the blog tour - this time with a short article on the weirdness of not belonging. Read the full article at T Kent Writes.

Time and the deep, black lake (Horror Tree)

Time and the deep, black lake (Horror Tree)

The Measure of Sorrow – Blog Tour The title novella from #TheMeasureOfSorrow almost didn't exist, but is now one of my favourite stories, both in the collection and that I've ever written. Really grateful for The Horror Tree letting me share my thoughts on...

Page 69 Test (TNBBC)

Page 69 Test (TNBBC)

The Measure of Sorrow – Blog Tour Want to know what's on page 69 (dude) of The Measure of Sorrow, and whether it's representative of the rest of the book? Look no further than this fun article over at TNBBC... (spoiler alert: it is!) Read the full article at The Next...

Sounds of an Old House: A Haunting Memoir (Vol.1 Brooklyn)

Sounds of an Old House: A Haunting Memoir (Vol.1 Brooklyn)

The Measure of Sorrow – Blog Tour It's a pleasure and a thrill to write an essay for the exceptional Volume 1 Brooklyn, especially a (brief) memoir of growing up in a house that may (or may not) be full of ghosts. If you like appropriately ambiguous true stories of...

Fresh Blood interview

Fresh Blood interview

ICYMI (and aren't yet sick of my relentless pre-launch pimping), Greg Chapman invited me over to his website for a wee interview. Inside you will find: assumptions, inspiration, impostor syndrome, Enid Blyton, lists – and more!   Check it out over on Greg's reviews...

Panel: dark fiction for dark times

Panel: dark fiction for dark times

Looking forward to chairing this panel the 2023 Speculative Fiction Festival at @writingNSW next month! Can’t wait to get stuck in to the knotty subject of horror’s great renaissance in these strange, dark times, with @jsbreukelaar @kaaron_warren and @antknee242  ...