Dreams They Forgot

Author shotEmma Ashmere’s new short story collection Dreams They Forgot will be published by Wakefield Press in September 2020 – and has just been listed on the Sydney Morning Herald’s Books to Read in 2020 and Readings Australian Books to Get Excited About 2020.


“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 DyschroniaThe Rest is Weight, and The Diamond Anchor. 

ABOUT DREAMS THEY FORGOT  – available September 2020

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 1980s London squat, from a modern Melbourne hospital to the 1950s Maralinga test site, to an English Language School in Hastings 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.

The short stories in Dreams They Forgot have 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. Emma’s critically acclaimed debut novel, The Floating Garden, was shortlisted for the Most Underrated Book Award 2016.

A note about the cover: The photograph on the cover ‘Lynne and Carol, 1962’ is the work of the late Melbourne feminist photographer Sue Ford.  See more of her stunning work here.  Thank you to the estate of Sue Ford for granting permission to use her work.

See more about Dreams They Forgot here.

And in the InDaily.



Emma Ashmere The Floating Garden Cover“Beautifully detailed… finely crafted…an elegy for the forgotten….a subversive counter-history to the tumult of rapid progress.”
Sydney Morning Herald/Age

“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.”
Books+Publishing (four stars)

“A beautiful meditation on grief, guilt, and regret.”
Judges’ report 2016 Most Underrated Book Award (shortlisted)

“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.”
Advertiser (four stars)


Emma Ashmere’s short stories have been widely published including in The Age, Commonwealth Writers Magazine adda, Griffith Review, Overland, Review of Australian Fiction, Sleepers Almanac, and on three Brisbane billboards for #8wordstory. She was shortlisted for the 2019 Commonwealth Short Story Prize, 2019 Newcastle Short Story Prize, 2018 Overland/NUW Fair Australia Prize and 2001 Age Short Story Award. Her debut novel The Floating Garden was shortlisted for the 2016 Small Press Network MUBA prize. Her short story collection Dreams They Forgot will be published in September 2020 by Wakefield Press.