Aurealis shortlist

Aurealis shortlist

Downright chuffed to learn The Measure Of Sorrow is on the Aurealis Award shortlist for best collection. There’s some esteemed company on the list, and it means the world to even get a nod.

Congrats to all the shortlistees and a big shout out to my homies on the list – some with 2, 3 and 4 noms!

Check out the full list here…
Lost in a world of darkness…

Lost in a world of darkness…

“The Measure of Sorrow is full of parents and children lost in a world of darkness, grasping for meaning and connection, and often using the latter as a proxy for the helplessness of the human condition writ large. Throughout these ten stories Ashley-Smith exhibits a real gift for character and setting, adroitly situating readers in the headspace and isolating surroundings of his protagonists.”
It truly blows my mind when readers and reviewers commit to so deeply, thoughtfully (and critically) analysing my work. Really loved this intelligent, considered reflection on The Measure of Sorrow over at Seize The Press.
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.

Raved about Shirley Jackson and Daphne du Maurier on a panel on the modern gothic, with Kyla Lee Ward, Kellie Beat and Paul Sheldon. Hosted the Australian Shadows Awards with Let The Cat In co-hosts Kaaron Warren and Aaron Dries – with much celebration to follow when Aaron won best short story for little Balloons (my personal favourite from his killer collection, Cut To Care). MC’d the Mayday Hills Ghost Story Competition, and subjected the captive audience to a reading of The Whatnot Shop. And in between it all, chatting to readers, selling books, shooting the proverbial with the many excellent guests. 

Check out photos of the weekend courtesy of the inestimable Cat Sparks (from whom these pictures were lovingly stolen).

J. Ashley-Smith, Cat Sparks, Kaaron Warren, Robert Hood and Aaron Dries in a really big car on the way to Beechworth
Inside the haunted asylum at Beechworth, book tables and punters
Paul Sheldon and Kellie Beat on the Modern Goth Panel
Robert Hood and J. Ashley-Smith at the book tables
Kaaron Warren and J. Ashley-Smith at breakfast
Kellie Beat and J. Ashley-Smith on the Modern Gothic panel
J. Ashley-Smith, Kaaron Warren and Adrian Collins
J. Ashley-Smith and Jason Nahrung at the pub
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! Earlier in the year, I pitched a whole bunch of panels, expecting one or two of them to get up – only they all did, and I ended up moderating most of them. Not mention hosting a fantastic (from my perspective, at least) workshop on utilising our own direct experience to enliven our stories. All of it great fun, of course, but too much… too much! Caught glimpses throughout the weekend of good friends heading off to this and that, with barely a moment to stop and hang. Next year it’ll be nothing but BarCon for me… come find me for a natter over a cup of tea.
I was such a ship in the night that Cat Sparks only managed to catch this one photo of me all weekend, pictured here hanging with script guru, Josh Koske. Check out the rest of Cat’s pics here.
Highlights of the weekend included sipping whisky with the immortal Ellen Datlow; Kaaron Warren and Ellen in conversation, an extended show and tell of all the extraordinary objects in Ellen’s apartment; Helen Marshall reading The Embalmer, from The Goldleaf Executions; and Let The Cat In co-hosts Kaaron Warren and Aaron Dries winning all the Ditmar Awards – go Catz!
Donderevo on Spotify

Donderevo on Spotify

Thanks to the magic of modern technology (and the wizardry of a certain Mr Barney Brown), the full Donderevo back catalogue is now up on Spotify.
Celebrate 20 years since the release of Good Science / Friendly Gods!

Bow down and worship at the taloned feet of the Digital Bird God!

Marvel at the extended go-go mix experimental electronica wonder that is Curiosities of the Cosmos!

Dig on the sounds of the band named after that once great space-doctor, Ron Donderevo…
(And a million points go to the scifi nerd who can tell me – without using Google – where the name comes from!) – Can’t miss indie press spec fic – Can’t miss indie press spec fic

The Measure of Sorrow gets a write up at, along with a host of other indie press spec fic that’s not to be missed!

“This year brings with it the first collection from the Shirley Jackson Award-winning author J. Ashley-Smith. The Measure of Sorrow abounds with stories in which places exhibit uncanny properties and communal events turn monstrous. Throw the Garden of Eden into the mix and you have a compelling book for perusal. (Meerkat Press; June 2023)”

Check out the full article here.