Bibliothèque des Refusés

Susan Maxwell

SUSAN MAXWELL's writing career began in splendid style with a school story penned while sick and confined to bed as a child: the author, growing weary of the increasingly unmanageable cast of characters, brought their literary lives to a dramatic end in a conflagration that reduced the school and a number of its inmates to ashes. Recognition by the publishing world had, alas, to wait until adulthood, in the form of short stories and poetry in a number magazines and anthologies (see Bibliography).

In 2014 Little Island Books published the novel Good Red Herring for the Young Adult market, though as with most of Maxwell's work, it does not fit entirely comfortably into generic or age-related categories. Further, independently published, books followed this debut—A Wild Goose Hunt, a sequel to Good Red Herring, and And the Wildness, set in the same fictional 'Hibernia Altera' universe; the short story collection Fluctuation in Disorder; and the novel Hollowmen, both of the latter slipstream works aimed at an adult rather than a universal readership. 

Apart from writing fiction, Maxwell has served on juries for the British Fantasy Awards; given a paper on archives as Gothic spaces (putting a PhD in Archival Science to good literary use!); and reviews regularly for Inis, the magazine of Children’s Books Ireland. Literary influences come mostly from speculative and modernist fiction, the author being particularly fond of Flann O'Brien, Calvino, Beckett, and Woolf. 

When not writing, or painting, or being an archivist, the author can be found in the vegetable patch, listening to music, reading books, watching old detective series, or catching up on sleep.

From the desk of the author…

How the camera sees me

How the mirror sees me

How my publisher sees me

She writes...

fantasy for younger readers who don't mind complicated plots but who aren't looking for stories with romance, violence or psychological realism.  Fiction mostly for adult readers  who aren't looking for romance, violence, psychological—or any other—realism. Poetry. Conference papers.

She paints...

landscapes, lighthouses, trees, more abstract than realistic. No art training other than spending a lot of time looking at the work of fabulous artists. Paint isn't always involved—chalk/pastel, charcoal, oil acrylics, and colouring-pencils also feature.  Beginning to dip the toe in the water of plant-based pigment. Grew some woad as a start. 

She farms...

despite being an archivist with a PhD (that's Dr. Maxwell to you!) and afraid of cows. It's organic, it's starting to be regenerative, it's all vegetables and herbs at the moment but there are plans. There will be more vegetables. There will compost. There will be trees. There will be chickens. There may even be cows.

She lives...

in the middle of Ireland, but previously had her residence in Dublin, London, Surrey, Co. Durham and The Hague, though not at the same time. Wherever she lays (and loses) her hat, that's her home—locations as various as the seat next to the fire in Dowling's pub and the dining car of the sleeper train to Prague.