Born: 1967, Whyalla, South Australia
Speculative fiction writer Sean Williams is the author of 75 published short stories and 35 novels, including the Books of the Cataclysm and The Resurrected Man. A recipient of the 2000 SA Great Award for literature, six Aurealis Awards and four Ditmar Awards (for achievement in Australian speculative fiction), he has been translated into French, Japanese, Hebrew, Russian and Polish.
Williams started reading science fiction early and was writing his own genre short stories from the age of about 11. His parents were teachers (his father later became an Anglican priest) and the family moved a lot. He has lived in Darwin and Mount Gambier, but spent most of his time in Adelaide, where he still lives. He studied sciences and music at Pulteney Grammar and matriculated third in his year (1984), topping the state for Music Composition. That year, he also won the Young Composer’s Award for a theme and three variations for string quartet with flute, oboe and trumpet soloists, called Release of Anger.
After a time in the workforce and beginning an economics degree, Williams decided to seriously attempt science-fiction writing and gave himself 10 years to get a book published. He worked a series of part-time jobs while writing and continuing to study music. He produced more than 100 short stories and beat his deadline by four years, publishing his first solo novel, Metal Fatigue, in 1996. He has been writing full-time since 1999.
Williams’ output includes cutting-edge science fiction dealing with major post-human issues, including nanotechnology, biotechnology, longevity, artificial intelligence, the origins of life, and fundamental properties of the universe (the Orphans series); fantasy ‘for all ages’ incorporating South Australian landscapes and new myths for Australian readers (the Books of the Change); and ‘future noir’ hybrids depicting the possibilities of crime prevention and detection in the 21st century, plus possible outcomes of present day political, social and technological developments (Metal Fatigue, The Resurrected Man).
He has also collaborated with other writers. A non-fiction piece with Simon Brown, ‘No Axis, No Boundary: The search for a Definition of SF’, was nominated for the William Atheling Jr Award. Together they also won the 1999 Best Horror Short Story Aurealis Award (for ‘Atrax’) and were reprinted in Gardner Dozois’ Year’s Best SF 15 (‘The Masque of Agamemnon’).
Williams completed a Masters in Creative Writing at Adelaide University in 2005 and is currently a PhD candidate there. He is on the executive of the Australian Society of Authors and on the board of the SA Writers’ Centre, He has been chair of the literature advisory board of Arts SA, and is currently on the SA Youth Arts’ Board Project and Development Grant Advisory Committee. He has taught at various writers’ centres, schools and universities, and is an honorary member of the International Golden Key Society.
Nowadays he writes two (or more) books a year. He has retained a strong interest in music, and hopes one day to compose more, which he expects anti-ageing technology to allow him to do.
1996: Aurealis Award for Best Horror Short Story (‘Passing the Bone’) and for Best SF Novel (Metal Fatigue)
1998: Ditmar Award for Long Fiction for The Resurrected Man
1999: Best Horror Short Story Aurealis Award (for ‘Atra’”), with Simon Brown
2000: SA Great Literature Award
2001-2003: Chair, SA Writer’s Centre
More by and about Sean Williams
Sean Williams official website (Full list of publications available at this site)
Eidolon.net: Australian Science Fiction Online, ‘The Girl-Thing’, Sean Williams, 2002,
Suite 101, Interview with Sean Williams, May 2009