Explore the 2024 Program

Meet the writers of Fantastical Worlds

Fantasy is one of the biggest genres in the world right now, helped in no small part by rave reviews on social media platforms like TikTok. Fantastical Worlds brings together seasoned and new writers within the fantasy genre to discuss the ways they're redefining stories of dragons and magic.

Garth Nix is one of Australia's most popular writers for children and young adults with nearly 30 years of writing under his belt. Shelley Parker-Chan is newer on the scene but is already making waves with their queer epic fantasy romances. Samantha Shannon needs little introduction after the enormous success of her debut, The Bone Season, and the internet sensation The Priory of the Orange Tree.

See them all in conversation at Fantastical Worlds.

Garth Nix

Garth Nix has sold more than six million books around the world and is perhaps most well-known for his young adult series, The Old Kingdom, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2020, his Left-Handed Booksellers of London series or his most recent short story series following Sir Hereward and Mister Fitz. He's also been highly awarded with multiple Aurealis Awards, the Ditmar Award, the Mythopoeic Award and the CBCA Honour Book Award.

Sabriel's story

Sabriel is a young woman whose father has gone missing. In order to find him, she must venture back into the Old Kingdom and both face the Dead and defeat a powerful necromancer while discovering her own power. This is magic at its most dangerous.

Sabriel is a winner, a fantasy that reads like realism. Here is a world with the same solidity and four-dimensional authority as our own, created with invention, clarity and intelligence.
Philip Pullman

Shelley Parker-Chan

Before writing their debut fantasy duology, The Radiant Emperor duology, Shelley Parker-Chan was a diplomat for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Timor-Leste and an international development advisor for gender equality and LGBTQ rights in Indonesia. Their writing has won the Astounding Award and the British Fantasy Award for Best Fantasy Novel and Best Newcomer as well as the first nomination for an Australian writer for the Hugo Award for Best Novel.

Queering epic fantasy

Shelley gets inspiration from a range of different media from history and memoir to Marvel movies and c-dramas. They describe themselves as a "mashup artist" because using "familiar elements brings resonance to a story, and if you use them in unexpected combinations it still feels fresh."

I had drifted away from epic fantasy in adulthood, because it didn't have what I was looking for—queerness, or the big, character-driven emotional arcs that you find in romance. So I decided to write my own thing, and it turned out to be an epic fantasy.
Shelley Parker-Chan

Samantha Shannon

Samantha Shannon is the writer of two internationally bestselling epic fantasy series, The Bone Season series and The Roots of Chaos series. The Bone Season wowed readers in 2013 for its fusion of dystopia and fantasy genres but Samantha predicts, "Fantasy is in a Golden Age at the moment, and I suspect it will always appeal to a large readership."

The Roots of Chaos

The Priory of the Orange Tree is a retelling of the story of Saint George and the Dragon with a feminist twist. It was shortlisted for a Lambda Literary Award in 2020 and is now being extended into a series with a prequel, A Day of Fallen Night, and a forthcoming book inspired by the Greek goddess Iris.

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