“Ashley-Smith is a writer to watch.”
“My favorite kind of horror story: intimate, whip-smart, and relentless.”
“An active, lucid, melancholy voice – half love, half fear, and all wonder.”
“Acutely observed, frequently surprising, this is fiction of the highest order.”
“J. Ashley-Smith is one of the best dark fiction writers working today.”
“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.”
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
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!
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!
Really loved this intelligent, considered reflection on The Measure of Sorrow over at Seize The Press.
Another year, another road trip to beautiful Beechworth Asylum with notorious Canberra hoodlums Kaaron Warren, Aaron Dries, Robert Hood, Cat Sparks.
Absolutely knackered after an immense weekend at Conflux 17. Remind me next year not to sign up for so much stuff!
Thanks to the magic of modern technology, the full Donderevo back catalogue is now up on Spotify.
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...
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 –...
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...
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...
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...
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.
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...
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...
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...
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...
The Measure of Sorrow gets a write up at Tor.com, along with a host of other indie press spec fic that’s not to be missed!
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 ...
Excited to learn my short story The Tub has been shortlisted in this year's Australian Shadows Awards. This is an oddly personal story that was a lot of fun to write, so I'm chuffed to see it getting some love. Double excited to see so many friends fine stories and...