Ryan O’Neill (that’s Dr Ryan O’Neill PhD to you!) was born in Glasgow, so was my mother, and moved around to various places before settling in Newcastle, Australia. SO DID MY MOTHER. His fiction has appeared in The Best Australian Stories, The Sleepers Almanac, Meanjin, New Australian Stories, Wet Ink, Etchings and Westerly. My mother’s fiction has appeared in her local church’s newsletter. I feel like they’re going to have soooooo much in common. Looks like we’re practically family so I guess I better do a shamelessly biased Robinpedia entry despite never having actually met Ryan O’Neill.
It was a crisp April in 2012 when Ryan O’Neill unleashed his spectacular debut, The Weight of a Human Heart, into the world. Ma’at waved her ostrich feather in appreciation and the critics clapped their hands. It was a collection of stories told in an eclectic manner. It was promptly shortlisted for a Queensland Literary Award, a New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award, AND a Scottish Mortgage Trust Award. Safe to say, his publisher, Black Inc. Books, was pretty happy with this.
And so it was in a chilly August in 2017 that Ryan and Black Inc. did present his follow up, Their Brilliant Careers. No, not My Brilliant Career, that’s very different and by the iconic Miles Franklin. This is a novel that uses the form of 16 humorous biographies about fictional Australian authors. It also did alright, I guess. Winner of a Prime Minister’s Literary Award as well as shortlisted for a Miles Franklin Award and New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award. Fine, it did great.
In, what will no doubt be a superlative, July of this year Ryan will be putting out his latest offering, The Drover’s Wives. Ryan takes Henry Lawson’s classic tale, The Drover’s Wife, shreds it, then puts it back together in a humorous reimagining several times over. 99 times to be precise. My teacher friends should be salivating over the release of this one. If I was still teaching I would definitely be using this, and that is despite the fact that I am a diehard Barbara Baynton fan and not totally down with Henry Lawson’s racist tirades. But that’s just me. Seriously, teachers, get more Barbara into your programming, I beg you, and get some Ryan into you as well. Anyhoo, The Drover’s Wives will no doubt be up for another bunch of awards, mark my words! Mark them!!! Have you got a pen or highlighter in your hand? You should.
Ryan O’Neill is also known as a mover and a shaker in the Australian literary scene. He is one of the founding members, and primary tweeter of, Kanganoulipo. Kanganoulipo is an experimental writing collective with members such as Robinpedia alumni Jane Rawson and Julie Koh. They’re bringing avant garde back.
When Dr Ryan O’Neill isn’t planning the revolution he lectures people. At my old uni to be specific. University of Newcastle. Small world!
Find Ryan O’Neill on twitter here.
Find Ryan O’Neill’s profile on Black Inc. Books here.
Find out more about Kanganoulipo here in this definitely factual account.
Find Ryan O’Neill’s books here or anywhere really.
Just quietly, fascination with the Lawson clan must run in our nonreal family because I’ve written a book that has Louisa Lawson in it. He’s reimagining Henry, I’m reimagining Louisa. Such a close knit notfamily.
New information just in, Ryan O’Neill also loves Barbara Baynton and in particular Squeaker’s Mate which is one of the most haunting pieces you will EVER read. Here’s a link of him discussing it.
Read more about Robinpediahere.
Read about my experience of being a dyslexic writer here.
Read about my opinion on author branding here.
Buy my shit here.