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Rebecca Lim

Author, Illustrator

Rebecca Lim is an award-winning Australian writer, illustrator and editor and the author of over twenty books, including Tiger Daughter (a Victorian Premier’s Literary Award-winner), The Astrologer’s Daughter (A Kirkus Best Book and CBCA Notable Book) and the bestselling Mercy. Her work has been shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, Queensland Literary Awards, CBCA Book of the Year Awards and Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards, shortlisted multiple times for the Aurealis Awards and Davitt Awards, and longlisted for the Gold Inky Award and the David Gemmell Legend Award. Her novels have been translated into German, French, Turkish, Portuguese, Polish and Russian. She is a co-founder of the Voices from the Intersection initiative and co-editor of Meet Me at the Intersection, a groundbreaking anthology of YA #OwnVoice memoir, poetry and fiction.

Where were you born?

I was born in Singapore but migrated to live in Warwick, Queensland, in the 1970s when I was a toddler (where my Dad was a doctor at the Base Hospital).

What other jobs have you had?

I’ve taught the piano, tutored VCE English students and been a commercial lawyer. My legal speciality was the tiny print you find at the back of glossy offer documents. You’re probably feeling drowsy just reading that.

What themes are recurring in your work?

The starting point for all my work is writing empowered female characters that live in a fictional world that more fully resembles the real world and not the one depicted in, say, Neighbours. So if you pick up one of my stories — no matter if you’re a three-year-old or an eighteen-year-old — you will be met with young women finding reserves of strength, ferocity, tenacity and adaptability in the face of great adversity.

You will also find ethnically diverse characters and socio-economic scenarios — because that is the world I live in and come from. I do not like neat, Scooby Doo-endings, so you will never find them in any of my young adult novels. But you will find angels, demons, ghosts, bikies, Norman knights, strippers and parentless children with strange abilities, because freakiness is to be celebrated.

What have been the highlights of your career?

One of the great highlights of my career is having readers from countries as far away as Brazil, Hungary, South Africa, The Philippines and The Netherlands reach out to me via the internet. I don’t have a Spanish-language publisher, but I do have the honour of a fan in Spain translating one of my books Mercy into Spanish (off their own bat) and posting it on the internet for other Spanish fans to read. That’s dedication.

I’m also over-the-moon to be an Aurealis Award finalist (for YA) for The Astrologer’s Daughter. I’ve been a Sci Fi/Fantasy reader since I could read, so finding out I’d been shortlisted was HUGE for me. I will hug that knowledge to me forever like a stuffed toy.

What are you passionate about?

I am very keen to see a greater representation of ethnics in books, film, TV and art, and the eradication of bullying in schools and workplaces.

Haven’t I seen you before?

I’ve been a presenter at the Melbourne Writers’ Festival, Sisters in Crime Australia’s SheKilda: One Day Crime Spree, Voices on the Coast and the Kilvington Writers’ Festival and also spoken at The Somerset Celebration of Literature (with a cricket sitting on my head), The Wheeler Centre, the State Library of Victoria’s schools’ and librarians’ programs and at various libraries and high schools.

Rebecca was recently interviewed on Triple R about diversity in Australian’s children’s literature, which you can listen to here.




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