Posted by: Lisa Hill | June 12, 2021

Book Giveaway: Mer, by Samantha Amy Mansell

Just in time to cheer readers fed up with a burst of rather bleak weather, comes a generous giveaway offer from the lovely people at the Grattan Street Press.  There are two copies of a short story collection called Mer, by debut author Samantha Amy Mansell up for grabs.

You’ve read about Grattan Street Press here before.  It’s an initiative of the University of Melbourne’s Publishing and Communications program in the School of Culture and Communication.  (I think that’s what we used to call the Faculty of Arts). Grattan Street Press is a start-up trade publisher based in Melbourne, and is staffed by graduate students, who receive hands-on experience of every aspect of the publishing process.  Bill at The Australian Legend has reviewed Ellen Davitt’s Force and Fraud, (1865), republished by Grattan Street in 2017 as part of their Colonial Australian Popular Fiction project to re-publish culturally valuable works that are out of print.  From the same collection, I’ve also got An Australian Girl in London by Louise Mack (2018, first published in1902), on the TBR.

But they also publish contemporary works, such as their most recent release, Mer, by Samantha Amy Mansell.  This is the blurb:

Set in an ominous underwater world marred by human destruction, the stories in Mer unsettle traditional mermaid mythology – beyond gender, beyond beauty, beyond romance. In her debut collection, Australian author Samantha Amy Mansell weaves a series of evocative tales about vengeance, loss and the right to survive. Mer asks not what, but who, lurks in the deep, depicting the ongoing damage to marine ecology from the viewpoint of the threatened merfolk.

Hayley Singer, a prominent author and academic working in the field of ecofeminism and feminist animal studies, describes Mer as a collection of “watery fables for toxic times”. These bold experimental stories will appeal to readers who are:

  • Concerned with the alarming state of the climate catastrophe. Since 1995, the Great Barrier Reef has lost over half of its corals due to climate change. The UN warns that if global temperatures continue rising at the rate they are, 90% of the world’s corals will be wiped out. Mer plunges the reader into the reality of this imminent crisis, describing reefs and oceans that are overfished, littered with plastic, and choking from the ash of raging fires. Evocative and shocking, Mer will force readers to rethink their relationship with the environment.
  • Disenfranchised by traditional gender binaries. Mer challenges the shell-bra-wearing mermaids and singing sirens of popular culture, and instead presents a cast of characters who subvert the traditional ideas of gender in mermaid mythology. In Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Ariel must give up her voice to be with her prince. Mer consciously gives back that voice.
  • Interested in experimental literary fiction. Composed of five compelling short stories, Mer comes as “a unique contribution to the terrain of contemporary ecological fiction” (Hayley Singer). It belongs to the Grattan Street Shorts series.

Samantha Amy Mansell is a Sydney-based editor and writer. She is passionate about intersectional feminism, bisexual representation in literature, and creating fantastical worlds. Mer is her first book.


Interested? Please add your name to the comments below, and I’ll draw the winners at the end of next week.  All entries from readers with an Australian postcode for delivery will be eligible but it is a condition of entry that if you are the winner, you must contact me with a postal address by the deadline that will be specified in the blog post that announces the winner. (I’ll redraw if this deadline isn’t met). Your postal address will be forwarded to the publisher who will then send you the book.

Good luck everybody!


  1. Sarah Ross


  2. Will I, won’t I? I wasn’t going to, when I saw the email come through, but then I saw the magic words “short stories” and thought maybe yes. So, yes, I think I will throw my hat in the ring, thanks.

    BTW I have also reviewed a Grattan Street colonial classic, John Lang’s The forger’s wife. I was really pleased to have been sent it as it was such an interesting read.


    • Yes, I think you are just the right person to review these short stories. I nearly suggested your name to the publicist from GSP, but then I thought of your backlog and uh-oh decided that you might never speak to me again if I did. So if you don’t win a copy…


      • So, if I don’t win a copy, I won’t be devastated! You were very right to consider my backlog, Lisa, so thanks for not suggesting my name right now. I am turning away a lot of requests at the moment.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. As a daily dipper in the Indian Ocean this is one I would appreciate.


  4. Hi Lisa! Obviously, I’m not entering the give-away (no Australian post code) but just wanted to say I enjoyed learning about this interesting new writer. It’s fascinating to see the many directions fiction is going these days.


  5. I’m very interested in this new publication, and would love to read the stories.


  6. Yes Lisa I do even in winter. Only when it’s stormy I decline as am not a strong swimmer. It’s a short and often quite a mild season here in WA which helps of course.


    • Then it’s just the book for you:) Good luck in the draw.


  7. I would love to win this giveaway as it sounds mesmerising , one you won’t be able to put down, perfect for the rainy season!


  8. Would love to win this giveaway!


  9. Sounds like an amazing book!


  10. Short stories? Yes, please! I’d love to enter.


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