1 Emma Ashmere Sep 2019Emma Ashmere was born in Adelaide, South Australia. Her short stories have been widely published including in The Age, Review of Australian Fiction, Griffith Review, Sleepers Almanac, Etchings,  Australian Womens Book Review, Press: 100 Love Letters Spineless Wonders, #8WordStory,  the National Gallery of Victoria’s NGVmagazine, the Commonwealth Writers literary magazine adda, and 2019 Overland Summer Edition. She was shortlisted for the 2018 Overland NUW Fair Australia Prize, the 2019 Newcastle Short Story Award, and the 2019 Commonwealth Writers  Short Story Award.

*** !!NEWSFLASH!! ***

Emma’s short story collection Dreams They Forgot 

will be published by Wakefield Press in 2020.

Emma’s first novel The Floating Garden (Spinifex Press) was shortlisted for the 2016 Small Press Network MUBA prize.

Emma Ashmere The Floating Garden Cover

She has worked as a researcher, tutor, bookseller – and  as a cook on film sets, an isolated cattle station, Sydney cafés, London pubs, and an art school in the south of France. She has a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Adelaide and a PhD on the use of marginalised histories in fiction from La Trobe University Melbourne, and is a recipient of the QWC/Olvar Wood award. She lives in northern New South Wales.

Hear an interview with Kate Evans about The Floating Garden on Radio National’s Books & Arts program. 

Reviews of The Floating Garden:

“…a beautiful meditation on grief, guilt, and regret, set against the backdrop of Milsons Point, Sydney, 1926.” Judges’ report 2016 MUBA prize.

The Floating Garden evocatively portrays both the difficulties and the sense of promise in the post-war era… at times it reminded me of Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet.” ⋆⋆⋆⋆ (four stars) Books+Publishing

“…beautifully detailed… finely crafted…an elegy for the forgotten….a subversive counter-history to the tumult of rapid progress.” The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. Read the full review here.

“I enthusiastically recommend this book … a new type of historical fiction.” ⋆⋆⋆⋆ (four stars) MD Brady’s US blog: Me, You and Books.

“This captivating debut… teems with charlatans, eccentrics and those doing it tough in a time of hardship and prejudice. Yet Ashmere weaves a sense of hope and redemption as her characters seek to rediscover their true selves.” ⋆⋆⋆⋆ (four stars) The Advertiser.

“I loved the vivid descriptions of the market and the ferries; the sights and scents of lush plant life; the mud, slush and sordid decay of the houses … the shadowy dangers that lurk in the cramped dark streets… Without idealising poverty, Ashmere depicts this Sydney as a place for the marginalised and eccentric.” Lisa Hill (Top 10 Books 2016) ANZlitlovers

“…beautifully written, gently humorous and highly detailed slice of history. It also has an absorbing storyline which kept me turning the page.” The Northern Rivers Echo.

“Ashmere does for the underprivileged of 1920s Sydney what Ruth Park did for the 1950s in Harp in the South… both exude warmth and sympathy for their motley crew of marginalised characters, and both are valuable for their social history.” Whispering Gums.

More reviews here.

The Floating Garden has just been published in the UK and USA.
See a list of where to buy the book in your area here (AUD$26.95)

Read an extract of The Floating Garden.

Emma Ashmere The Floating Garden Cover

A NOTE about the cover of The Floating Garden. ‘The Bridge’ (1930) was painted by South Australian artist, Dorrit Black (1891-1951). Read more about her remarkable life and work here: Rescuing the Reputation of Early Australian Modernist Dorrit Black and also Unseen Forces the recent retrospective exhibition at the Art Gallery of SA.


the bookshelf jun 2019

Talking about books and the 2019 Commonwealth Short Story Prize on Radio National’s The Bookshelf with hosts Kate Evans and Cassie McCullough.

Listen to Emma’s short story After the Storm read by an actor for Spineless Wonders.

8wordstoryScreen Shot 2017-11-14 at 6.18.30 PM (002)

Emma’s #8Wordstory flickered across three Brisbane inner city billboards in November 2017.



On the Fiction & Empathy panel at the inaugural Feminist Writers Festival 2016 with Penelope Russon and Merlinda Bobis.


 Copyright Emma Ashmere © 2015 ____________________________________________________________________