DREAMS THEY FORGOT is out today! Thanks to my publishers Wakefield Press, twenty-three of my stories have been put together in one beautifully designed book.
“Ashmere’s prose is precise, almost elusive, reading at times like poetry.” ADAM FORD, July 2020, BOOKS&PUBLISHING.
About DREAMS THEY FORGOT
Two sisters await the tidal wave predicted for 1970s Adelaide after Premier Don Dunstan decriminalises homosexuality. An interstate family drive is complicated by the father’s memory of sighting UFOs. Two women drive from Melbourne to Sydney to see the Harbour Bridge before it’s finished. An isolated family tries to weather climate change as the Doomsday Clock ticks.
Emma Ashmere’s stories explore illusion, deception and acts of quiet rebellion. Diverse characters travel high and low roads through time and place – from a grand 1860s Adelaide music hall to a dilapidated London squat, from a modern Melbourne hospital to the 1950s Maralinga test site, to the 1990s diamond mines of Borneo.
Undercut with longing and unbelonging, absurdity and tragedy, thwarted plans and fortuitous serendipity, each story offers glimpses into the dreams, limitations, gains and losses of fragmented families, loners and lovers, survivors and misfits, as they piece together a place for themselves in the imperfect mosaic of the natural and unnatural world.
Praise for DREAMS THEY FORGOT
“Emma Ashmere’s characters are luminescent. These stories drew me into people and worlds so vivid they practically lived on the page.” — ANNA SPARGO-RYAN, author of The Gulf, and The Paper House.
‘Ashmere’s writing is full of quick insights and telling details. These stories move effortlessly through place and time, entering lives on the point of transgression. It’s an absolute pleasure to travel with them.’ — JENNIFER MILLS, author of Dyschronia, The Rest is Weight, and The Diamond Anchor.
‘Stories of extraordinary range and depth. Deeply engaging and satisfying.’ — PADDY O’REILLY, author of Peripheral Vision, The End of the World, and The Wonders.
‘Ashmere’s prose is precise, almost elusive, reading at times like poetry. It drills down into certain details while leaving others out entirely. This invites the reader to complete the picture by tying together the story elements that Ashmere has chosen to share…The deft description, compelling emotion and insightful observations… will appeal to readers of feminist fiction and Australian realism, in particular fans of Dymphna Cusack or Fiona McGregor.’ — ADAM FORD, BOOKS&PUBLISHING, July 15 2020. (Read the full review here.)
“The stories in this strong and varied collection range across urban and rural Australia and beyond, to such touchstones of Australian travel as Bali and London, and to more exotic settings such as Borneo and regional France. Emma Ashmere’s stories are often impressionistic, never laboriously chewing on their material and trusting the intelligence of the reader to join the dots and grasp the underlying feeling. There are some excellent stories about family life, especially those told from the point of view of a semi-comprehending and bemused child or adolescent. But Ashmere’s greatest strength is in her stories of the historical past, especially in Australia. These stories acknowledge the limits of what is knowable to contemporary readers, evoking instead the unrecoverable strangeness and mystery of the past.” — KERRYN GOLDSWORTHY, SYDNEY MORNING HERALD/AGE, 5 Sep 2020.
“Ashmere moves skillfully and seamlessly between eras and places… this variety is also a strength, making each story feel different from those surrounding it… a thoughtful meditation on the things that can hold you down, and the different ways through.” ELIZABETH FLUX, THE SATURDAY PAPER, 12 Sept 2020.
“These short stories have the compressed clarity of diamonds. From somewhere deep, Ashmere brings these small stories to the surface and sets to crafting them. Every angle and facet is laser cut and polished to perfection. Turn them slowly in your hands. Be dazzled by the light that glances and bounces off their surfaces and be drawn to the shadows that lie within.” JENNY BIRD, BYRON WRITERS FESTIVAL, Sept-Oct 2020 NORTHERLY.
“Generally, an author’s work improves with time, but all twenty-three stories in Dreams They Forgot are of equal quality. In some collections, stories can blur together, but the diverse locations and historical periods utilised in these stories make each piece memorable.” ANNIE CONDON, READINGS MONTHLY, Sept 2020.
The photograph ‘Lynne and Carol, 1962’ is by the late Melbourne photographer Sue Ford. See more of her stunning work archived here. My thanks to the estate of Sue Ford for kindly granting permission to use her work.
Behind The Book
Q&A with the Feminist Writers Festival about writing Dreams They Forgot.
‘Catch A Passing Thought’ on writing short stories and Dreams They Forgot.
Author Talk with Theresa Smith Writes.
Chatting to Pamela Cook and Kel Butler on the W4W podcast.
Thurs 24 Sept 6.30pm (Melbourne time): ” Women Who Break The Rules” Online Event Readings Bookshop. Join Emma Ashmere (Dreams They Forgot) and Laura Elvery (Ordinary Matter) talking to publisher/editor Jo Case about their new short story collections. Free zoom event – but you need to register.
Where To Buy
Find DREAMS THEY FORGOT (RRP AUD $24.95) at your local bookshop or online:
Wakefield Press (Adelaide)
Abbey’s Bookshop (Sydney)
Avid Reader (Brisbane)
Bookroom at Byron (Northern NSW)
Imprints Bookshop (Adelaide)
Jeffrey’s Books (Melbourne)
Lismore Book Warehouse (Northern NSW)
Matilda Bookshop (Adelaide Hills)
National Library (Canberra)
Ravens Parlour (Barossa Valley)
Riverbend Books (Brisbane)
Wheelers Books (Online)
*Also e-book available. Please note – the RRP is AUD$24.95. Prices vary wildly on Book Depository, Fishpond, Amazon etc.*
About The Author
Emma Ashmere was born in Adelaide, South Australia. Her new short story collection DREAMS THEY FORGOT is published by Wakefield Press. Her stories have been widely published including in the Age, Griffith Review, Overland, Review of Australian Fiction, Sleepers Almanac, Etchings, Spineless Wonders, #8WordStory, NGVmagazine, and the Commonwealth Writers literary magazine, adda. She has been shortlisted for the 2019 Commonwealth Writers Short Story Award, 2019 Newcastle Short Story Award, 2018 Overland NUW Fair Australia Prize, and the 2001 Age Short Story Competition; and longlisted for the 2020 Big Issue Fiction Edition, and the 2020 Heroines Prize, with another story forthcoming in the NZ/Aust Scorchers climate change anthology. Her critically acclaimed debut novel, The Floating Garden, was shortlisted for the Most Underrated Book Award 2016.