Lucy Sussex

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Lucy Sussex
Lucy Sussex in 2013
Lucy Sussex in 2013
Born 1957
Christchurch, New Zealand
Language English
Nationality Australian
Education MA in Librarianship, and PhD in English Literature
Alma mater Monash University, University of Wales
Years active 1983-

Lucy Sussex (born 1957 in New Zealand) is an author working in fantasy and science fiction, children’s and teenage writing, non-fiction and true crime. She is also an editor, reviewer, academic and teacher, and currently resides in Melbourne, Australia.

She is often associated with feminist science fiction, Australiana, the history of women’s writing, and detective fiction.

Personal life[edit]

Lucy Sussex was born in 1957 in Christchurch, New Zealand. She has lived in New Zealand, France, the United Kingdom and Australia, where she settled in 1971, and has spent the majority of her time since. She has a degree in English and an MA in Librarianship from Monash University, and also a Ph.D from the University of Wales.[1]

She has been writing since the age of eleven. In 1979 she attended a Sydney-based Science Fiction Writers' Workshop, conducted by Terry Carr and George Turner and soon after published her first short stories locally and overseas.[2]


Lucy Sussex's fiction has spanned a range of genres, including Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and Crime and Detective fiction and been aimed at the children's, young adult and adult fiction markets. She has published six novels - the first appearing in 1995 - and over 30 short stories, which have been collected across three anthologies. Her first story to gain notice might be 1985's The Lipton Village Society, which involved the creation of an alternate world.

Style and themes[edit]

Sussex is strongly feminist. Victoriana styles and motifs recur in her work, as do dolls. The Scarlet Rider is a fictionalization of her search for Mary Fortune.

Non Fiction, Academic and Editorial Work[edit]

Sussex works as a freelance editor and researcher and has published literary criticism and journalism. She is a Fellow at the Federation University Ballarat, and La Trobe University.

She writes reviews - until 2013 for The Age newspaper on a weekly basis, which involved reading 5-6 books per week.[3]

She has edited several anthologies, including She's Fantastical, the first collection of Australian women's speculative fiction, magical realism and fantasy to be published in that country.[4] The volume was short listed for the prestigious World Fantasy Award in 1996.

She has also described herself as a 'literary archaeologist' having rediscovered and republished the work of nineteenth-century Australian crime writers Mary Fortune and Ellen Davitt. Fortune's full identity was uncovered through Sussex's scholarship, having been previously only known by pseudonyms for many decades.[5] Her Ph.D thesis also focused on early women crime writers, the mothers of the genre.

Contribution to science fiction and fantasy culture[edit]

Sussex has participated in numerous conventions and conferences, either as guest or panelist.

She has for many years maintained an active interest in encouraging emerging writers in the speculative fiction field, conducting a number of workshops, including at Aussiecon III, the 1999 World SF Convention in Melbourne. She was a teacher at Clarion West, in Seattle in 2001 and at Clarion South in 2004. She has regularly conducted workshops in her home city of Melbourne, of varying lengths and themes, most recently facilitating a Science Fiction Novel writing challenge in 2008-09.

In 2003 Sussex was awarded the Chandler Award for "Outstanding Achievement in Australian Science Fiction", which recognised the scope of her achievements in the Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy fields as practitioner, academic and teacher.[6] She was awarded the Peter McNamara award in 2010.[7]


In 1989 she won her first Ditmar Award for short story "My Lady Tongue" about a lesbian feminist community. She won three further Ditmars, for her novel The Scarlet Rider (1997), novella "La Sentinelle" (2004), and short story "Absolute Uncertainty". "Merlusine" won the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Short Story in 1998, and "La Sentinelle" won an Aurealis Award in 2003. In 2008 her short story "Mist and Murder" won a Sir Julius Vogel Award.[8] "Blockbuster! Fergus Hume and the Mystery of a Hansom Cab" won the History Publication Award in the Victorian Community History Awards in 2015.

She was a judge for the international James Tiptree, Jr. Award in 1995,[9] and has subsequently judged the Age,[10] Victorian Premier’s[11] and ASAL gold medal awards.[12]



  • The Peace Garden (Oxford University Press, 1989)
  • Deersnake (Hodder and Stoughton, 1994)
  • The Scarlet Rider (Forge, 1996)
  • The Penguin Friend (Omnibus Books, 1997)
  • Black Ice, (Hodder Headline Australia, 1997)
  • The Revognase (Lothian, 2003)

Short story collections[edit]

  • My Lady Tongue and Other Tales, (Heinemann, 1990)
  • A Tour Guide in Utopia, (MirrorDanse, 2005)
  • Absolute Uncertainty, (Aqueduct Press, 2006)
  • Matilda Told Such Dreadful Lies: The Essential Lucy Sussex, (Ticonderoga Publications, 2011)
  • Thief of Lives (Twelfth Planet, 2011)


  • The Fortunes of Mary Fortune (Penguin, 1989)
  • The Lottery: Nine Science Fiction Stories (Omnibus Books, 1994)
  • The Patternmaker: Nine Science Fiction Stories (Omnibus Books, 1994)
  • Shadow Alley: Nine Crime Stories (Omnibus Books, 1995)
  • She's Fantastical (Sybylla Press, 1995)
  • Saltwater in the Ink: Voices from the Australian Seas (Australian Scholarly Press, 2010)
  • The Detectives’ Album by Mary Fortune (Broken Silicon Press, USA and Canada, 2003)
  • Three Detective Stories by Mary Fortune (Mulini, 2009)


  • Contrary Modes (1985) with Jenny Blackford, Russell Blackford and Norman Talbot
  • Woman Writers and Detectives in Nineteenth-Century Crime Fiction: the Mothers of the Mystery Genre (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2010)
  • Blockbuster! Fergus Hume and The Mystery of a Hansom Cab (Text Publishing, 2015)


  • Canadian Women’s History Bibliography with Klay Dyer and Sue Martin, (Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions, 1997)
  • Mary Fortune with Elizabeth Gibson, (Victorian Fiction Research Guide 27), Victorian Fiction Research Unit, Department of English, University of Queensland, 1998.



  1. ^ "Lucy Sussex". Retrieved 2016-08-17. 
  2. ^ "Welcome to The Lucy Sussex Home Page". 2015-06-23. Retrieved 2016-08-17. 
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-12-01. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  4. ^ "Issue Nineteen: Interview with Lucy Sussex and Judith Buckrich". Retrieved 2016-08-17. 
  5. ^ "19th Century Australian Crime Fiction: A Woman of Mystery: Mary Fortune by Lucy Sussex". 2005-12-16. Retrieved 2016-08-17. 
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-07-01. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  7. ^ "Peter McNamara Achievement Award - Australian sf information". Retrieved 2016-08-17. 
  8. ^ "Sir Julius Vogel Award Results - 2008". Retrieved 2016-08-17. 
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-04-03. Retrieved 2011-03-19. 
  10. ^ "US travel memoir wins Age Book of the Year Award". 2008-08-23. Retrieved 2016-08-17. 
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-08-26. Retrieved 2014-08-24. 
  12. ^ "Welcome -". Archived from the original on 2014-03-02. Retrieved 2016-08-17. 

Other sources[edit]

External links[edit]