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Rebecca Lim is a writer, illustrator, editor and lawyer based in Melbourne, Australia. She is the author of nineteen books, including The Astrologer’s Daughter (a Kirkus Best Book of 2015 and CBCA Notable Book for Older Readers), Afterlight and the bestselling Mercy. Her work has been shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award, Aurealis Award, INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award and Davitt Award, and has also been longlisted for the Gold Inky Award and the David Gemmell Legend Award.
She is a co-founder of the Voices from the Intersection initiative to support emerging young adult and children’s authors, illustrators and publishing professionals who are Indigenous, people of colour, LGBTIQA+ or living with disability, and a co-editor of Meet Me at the Intersection, a groundbreaking anthology of YA #OwnVoice memoir, poetry and fiction.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.