Posted by: Lisa Hill | July 3, 2013

Meet an Aussie Author: Jane Rawson

A Wrong Turn at the Office of Unmade ListsJane Rawson is an interesting new name in the Australian literary scene: she made her debut with  A Wrong Turn of the Office of Unmade Lists which I reviewed last week, and you can see her talent for capturing the heartstrings without being maudlin in the Sensational Snippet that I posted.  What I really liked about the novel was the wry style and the quirkiness of the characters, so I was delighted when Jane agreed to participate in Meet an Aussie Author.

Jane Rawson3

Jane Rawson (Photo credit: Andy Maurer)

Jane grew up in Canberra.   During years as a travel editor and writer, mostly for Lonely Planet, she dawdled around the streets of San Francisco, Prague and Phnom Penh and left smitten.  These days she lives in Melbourne’s west and edits the environment and energy section of The Conversation, an independent news website*. She likes cats, quiet, minimal capitalisation, and finding out that everything is going to be OK.

This is what she says about herself:

1.  I was born in a hospital that later imploded.

2.  When I was a child I wrote in tiny, tiny, tiny little doll sized books in the tiniest writing. I still prefer things that are improbably tiny.

3.  The person who encouraged me to write was more than one person. It was boys I wanted to impress, it was Rose and Jane who wrote alongside me, it was Chris Baty for devising a system of writing with a deadline.

4.  I write in small, warm places.

5.  I write when I have a deadline. Otherwise, I read and pretend I’m about to write.

6.  Research is cheating. It’s what I do when I know I should be writing. Most of what I write is too imaginary to need research, really.

7.  I keep my published works in the bookshelf next to my desk, but I stare at them less than I thought I would.

8.  On the day my first book was published, I didn’t realise, and was taken by surprise when I saw it in Readings. Then I bought a bottle of beer and almost fainted while paying for it.

9.  At the moment, I’m writing the answer to this question. But I should be writing a novel about my great-great-grandfather, who survived a terrible shipwreck.

10. When I’m stuck for an idea/word/phrase, I steal one from whatever music I’m listening to.

Surely there must be another novel in her answer to Q1!

Jane Rawson1

Marjorie Barnard (Photo credit: Brendan Hennessy)

Marjorie Barnard (Photo credit: Brendan Hennessy)

Many of the writers featured on Meet an Aussie Author have a muse of one sort of another, and Jane is no exception.  The picture you can see at left is of writer Marjorie Barnard, photographed by Brendan Hennessy.  The photo hangs above Jane’s desk, and she says that she ‘wants to be like her when she grows up’.  At right, is Jane’s little cat Dumpling, who died late last year, and who used to sit with her while she worked. ‘Unmade lists’ is dedicated to her.

Jane’s novel is available at:

Fishpond: A Wrong Turn at the Office of Unmade Lists , Transit Lounge, and good indie bookshops such as Readings.   She blogs at Jane Bryony Rawson.

* PS If you are a bit depressed by the parlous state of Australian news journalism, check out The Conversation, and support it with a donation if you can.   Founding Partners and supporters include the CSIRO, Monash University, the University of Melbourne, University of Technology Sydney, University of Western Australia and RMIT University, all dedicated to restoring trust in journalism by abiding by ethical standards and offering independent, high-quality, authenticated, explanatory journalism.  The Conversation complements Inside Story, which is published by Swinburne University.  You may not realise just how much spin, disinformation and tabloid rubbish you are being fed until you discover a quality alternative.

Update 26/2/16

Read a review of Jane’s award-winning novella Formaldehyde at The Australian Legend.


  1. Oh yes, I love The Conversation … an excellent site. I don’t read every day but I subscribe and read often.

    And yes, a novel about question 1 would be intriguing. My daughter was born in the same hospital … I might suggest she get to the novel first! Lovely interview, btw. Loved the fact that she steals a word from the music she’s listening to.


    • Which is the hospital??


      • You don’t know the story? The Royal Canberra Hospital was imploded in 1997 … It was billed as a public event. A 12 year old girl was killed by debris that flew across the lake … It was on the site where the National Museum is now and spectators were across the lake … Quite a distance. It was a disaster to say the least.


        • Oh yes, I do remember now. What stayed in my memory was the little girl who was killed, not the name of the building that was imploded.


          • Oh, I can understand that .. I’d probably be the same about another city.


  2. […] here they are, on ANZLitLovers, where I talk about being born in an imploding hospital, before it imploded. And […]


  3. […] visit this link to Overland.  Thanks to Jane Rawson for the link.  (BTW Jane has been featured at Meet an Aussie Author and has written a beaut, quirky novel called A Wrong Turn at the Office of Unmade Lists so she […]


  4. […] Jane Rawson, author of Wrong Turn at the Office of Unmade Lists, (another speculative fiction book I expected […]


  5. […] booked out, but perhaps the Wheeler Centre will make it available on video in due course.  (Jane Rawson is on the panel too, her novel A Wrong Turn at the Office of Unpaid Lists (see my review) won the […]


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