Author Jane Rawson, recently long-listed for the Miles Franklin Literary Award, loves her market shopping, Ethiopian coffee and other favourite Footscray rituals.
What’s your connection with Footscray?
I moved to Footscray in 2011. I used to live in Yarraville, but the Victorian government was going to build a road through my house, so I had to leave. I came to Footscray because it was heaps more interesting, there were so many different things to do here.
What do you love about living there?
I can’t think of any other places in Melbourne or anywhere that are like Footscray. Footscray is really special. There are all kinds of different people who live here, and all kinds of different things to do. Everyone’s a little bit confused all the time and I really like that because I’m frequently confused.
What are your favourite local places?
My favourite thing in Footscray is Footscray Library. It has pretty much every book I ever want to read and it’s all for free. My other favourite things in Footscray are Littlefoot bar, they make good cocktails, and Konjo is my favourite African restaurant.
The people who own Konjo are really nice, really friendly and they make extremely delicious food. I particularly like their buffets, it’s just so good. That’s where I go and get my coffee after doing my shopping at Footscray market on Saturday mornings, because Abdul makes really good coffee.
I like the little park down by Footscray station. That park is really nice in summer, it’s just a kind of little oasis of greenness in Footscray, which is otherwise not so green. Mostly they like to build apartment buildings on any green space in Footscray, but that bit somehow escaped.
You can take a thermos of margaritas down there in the park and drink it and nobody knows. I also like the Night Heron, they have really good experimental music shows and sometimes poetry readings.
What can you tell us about your published books?
The first one I wrote was Formaldehyde. I wrote it while I was living in San Francisco because my friend was just starting this thing called National Novel Writing Month where you try to write 50,000 words in one month, which I thought was a crazy idea and I wanted to do it. So I wrote the first draft of Formaldehyde, which got published in 2015.
A Wrong Turn at the Office of Unmade Lists is set in the western suburbs of Melbourne and is about a post-apocalyptic dystopian scenario. It made me want to write a non-fiction book about climate change, so I’ve also done that, The Handbook, on how to adapt your own life to extreme weather, droughts, flood and depression.
My most recent book is From the Wreck, which is based on my family history but also has an alien. It’s set in 19th century South Australia. The alien looks like an octopus but it also changes shape all the time. She’s lost, her planet got destroyed and she needs a new planet to live in.
People have been shortlisting it for awards, it was longlisted for a Miles Franklin and it won an Aurealis Award for science fiction.
What’s something people may be surprised to learn about you?
When I go out into the countryside and I see a lot of stars it kind of freaks me out, there’s too many of them.
I once helped resuscitate a guy who was almost dead from a heroin overdose, opposite the Dancing Dog.
I won second place for my Anzac biscuits at the Melbourne Show – I’ve never made Anzac biscuits as good as that again.