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DYSCHRONIA

The time has come!* Dyschronia is in all the best bookshops, in paperback and epub. Here is a pic of me sneaking in a quick signing at Dymocks in Adelaide:


There is a funny story about Stephen King doing this in Alice Springs and getting into trouble. I must be somewhat stealthier than Stephen King though, because nobody noticed. (Except H, who took the photo.)

Here is a smashing first review in The Australian – it’s paywalled, but I have extracted some choice quotes:

‘There is a poetry in Mills’s writing that shimmers like desert air — “The infinite glistens in the minute” — and in her storytelling, in the way she captures the moods of time, there is something mystical…’

‘This is a novel that is daring, original and ambitious. And in its near-apocalyptic vision, there’s an awful beauty but also a cautious hope.’

A dream start for a book that has caused its fair share of nightmares! And not just for me, if early reader feedback is anything to go by…

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.



In March, I’ll be making a couple of author appearances at Adelaide Writers Week – it’s a fantastic program this year and I hope to see you there! Until then, keep an eye out for more reviews and interviews over the next few weeks. I will keep this blog updated regularly but you can also follow me on twitter if you want the latest.

Oh, and the folks at Picador made this cool gif:

If you look at it for a while, then look at the book, the cover starts to move. I swear it’s not just me.

*(What is time, though? And where from?)


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Shiny new year

What a joy it was to arrive home to a box of these marvelous, glittering beauties:

Dyschronia in print

H and I have just spent three weeks driving around Tasmania and Victoria, visiting some stunning national parks and some of our favourite national people. We hiked the Three Capes track over xmas, spotted Tassie devils in the wild, swam in cold southern seas, investigated a few distilleries, saw in the new year with old friends, and very gracefully fell into a wombat hole while picking raspberries. (Ok, that last one was just me.) I am glad to be home, energised and restored, and ready to get back to work.

This gleaming creature is already swimming out into the world and by the 1st February will be waiting in a bookshop near you. It feels fitting that the release date for Dyschronia coincides with a super lunar eclipse. It has been a transformative book in many ways, some of them painful – a lesson in holding fast to one’s vision, even when it seems impossible.

I can’t wait for you to read it.


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Wombats, Health and Safety

In my three weeks away at Bundanon, I worked my way through a whole draft of the new book, achieved my aim of resolving some structural questions, and also injured myself in some way – so now I am paying the price for that work-binge. Look after your WHS, writers! I was thinking a lot about the body, gender, and various dysphorias, so it was almost in keeping to find myself afflicted. Fortunately I have no deadlines for the rest of this year and an enormous pile of reading to catch up on, so the forced period of inactivity is useful, if frustrating.

Apart from the aches, it was great to be back in Wodi Wodi/Yuin country, on the shores of the Shoalhaven river. A lot of landcare has been done since I was last there five years ago, and it’s wonderful to see the bush so well looked after. The country is very dry after a winter with so little rain and locals were justifiably worried about the bushfire season ahead. I encountered a lot of wildlife on my daily walks and didn’t have to go far to find it – there’s a wombat living under the writer’s cottage. Part of the charm of Bundanon is the way the wild encroaches on you, overlapping with your work, so that you can’t help but adjust to the routines of birds and animals – the emergence of the wombat became an evening clock. I was dazzled by the beauty and gravitas of lace monitors and amazed to be investigated by a curious young echidna.

Aside from the animal slideshow (with token desk shots) I have a few updates, publications, news items this post so I will keep it brief:

Overland 228 coverThe new issue of Overland is out – it contains my interview with Peter Carey and lots of other interesting stuff, get your hands on a copy now or visit the website next week when the Subscriberthon madness is on and you could win a ridiculous amount of goodies with your subscription.

I have a new essay in the Sydney Review of Books about Shaun Prescott’s The Town, the 2nd fiction offering from Brow Books. I would read the book before you read the essay if you can as it is worth going into such a unique reading experience cold. I had fun writing the essay – lots of thoughts in there about being a regional writer, landscape, the problems of genre, and Gerald Murnane.


RAF coverA new short story of mine is up at the Review of Australian Fiction – it’s my fourth appearance in the RAF, which indicates my support for the project – I have long enthused about its reserving space for short fiction, pairing established writers with emerging, and embracing the digital format. This story, called ‘Salt-wolf,’ is a bit different for me – I described it to the RAF eds as ‘revisionist Beowulf fanfic’ and it’s very much in the tradition of feminist retellings of classics. You don’t have to have read Beowulf to enjoy it, but if you’re curious, there’s a slightly abridged reading of the Heaney version on youtube that makes a great introduction. This time I’ve been paired with Veronica Sullivan, whose story ‘Second Growth’ is both imaginatively daring and intimately human – it steers the reader gently from the shore of suffering to that of grace. I highly recommend it to you.



Another release – they all seem to have come at once – is the annual Best Australian Stories anthology, and I’m pleased to have one of mine included again: ‘Miracles,’ which first appeared in Meanjin. There are lots of other great writers in there including some of my favourites like Julie Koh, Ellen van Neerven, Josephine Rowe… so do grab yourself a copy while you can.



Finally, I was very pleased to get some galley proofs for Dyschronia in the mail last week – and to send off my last few alterations to the eds at Picador. Nothing I can do about it now! There’s always so much grief in this part of it for me; it is tough to let go of what you’ve made, and of necessity to acknowledge your own limitations in the process. It’s good to be a way along on the next one by the time a book comes out – I am actually overlapping about three of them at the moment. I am proud of Dyschronia, and I’m very keen to see whether and how people respond to it. As I think I mentioned last post, the release date is February 1, 2018 – so it’s not long to wait…


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Read, write, eat, sleep

Hello, dear readers. Just a quick post to let you know of a couple of recent publications you might want to get your eyes/hands/paws/tentacles on:

I have just reviewed Wayne Macauley’s new book Some Tests for The Lifted Brow Review of Books.

A short story of mine called ‘Corrango’ is in the new Island, the bumper 150th issue. A subscription to Island is less than $50 these days and it’s a beautiful magazine – I mean look at this cover art by Tricky Walsh and the incredible list of contributors:

Island 150 cover image

This is not a publication but I was on a panel at the Melbourne International Film Festival a couple of weeks ago – Overland collaborated with MIFF to hold a discussion about dystopias in Australian books and film, inspired by a story we published back in 1972 called Crabs by a young fellow named Peter Carey. MIFF screened the film adaptation of the story, Dead End Drive-In – a cult classic. In our next issue, Overland will republish the story with a special extra treat attached for our readers. I thoroughly enjoyed being involved in a discussion that crossed from film to literature and back again. I’m told the panel footage will be available online, so I will post a link to it here when that happens. Meanwhile here is a photo taken by MIFF photographer Damian Sullivan:

photo of MIFF 2017 panel
That’s (L-R) ghostly hand of a hardworking Auslan interpreter; facilitator and editor of Metro Adolfo Aranjuez; me; filmmaker Ben Lucas; writer Claire Corbett; and film guru Alex Heller-Nicholas.

I managed to catch a couple of films while I was there, including fellow panelist Ben Lucas’ excellent sci-fi thriller OtherLife (set in Perth!) – I highly recommend that one. My other favourite was Liu Jian’s brilliant Have A Nice Day, an animated story of ordinary people and small-time gangsters in contemporary China. It is very bleak and very funny. It made me a little homesick for Beijing.

Aside from these exciting engagements my life has been mostly read/write/eat/sleep/repeat. Winter feels much too long here even though I spent two weeks of it having a delightful holiday in Far North Queensland and even though it is about 20 degrees warmer here than it is during a Beijing winter (it probably feels colder because my house is not warmed by government-mandated central heating). I’ve been judging a major book award, which involves a massive amount of reading, some of which has been illuminating… my office is crowded with a babble of novels. I’ve also been managing to work away at a draft of a new one of my own. It is a very incremental process. I’m a bit superstitious, so I don’t want to say much about it yet except that I think it is starting to develop some muscle… I’m looking forward to taking it away to Bundanon with me in the spring.

I’ve also been proofreading Dyschronia – the book that has taken twice as long and so must be twice as good as the others! Dyschronia now has a publication date of (drum roll) February 2018. So that means I’m getting to the fun part of book-writing, ie. not the part where you have to write the actual book. Choosing covers and watching it take physical form in this universe and waiting to find out what other people think of it are all quite joyful parts of the process. I’ll definitely be sharing more details here as they come.


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