Texts in the City: Things We Didn’t See Coming

Texts in the City: Things We Didn't See Coming

Joining Jenny Niven for Texts in the City is Louise Swinn, whose imprint Sleepers Publishing published the novel Things We Didn’t See Coming by Steven Amsterdam.

Swinn reveals how she first encountered Amsterdam’s writing and details the process of bringing the book to publication. She discusses the book in relation to genre — in particular, whether it’s speculative fiction or literary fiction, and what difference that might make to how the book is understood by readers. She also talks about why the book is marketed as a novel in Australia and a collection of short stories overseas.

Further exploring the text, Swinn and Niven address the question of morality in the novel in the context of the relationships between the characters and the things that each must do to survive. What does Things We Didn’t See Coming have to say about love, relationships and crisis? And how does it relate to our real world narratives of disaster?


Portrait of Tony Birch

Tony Birch

Tony Birch is the author of three novels: the bestselling The White Girl, winner of the 2020 NSW Premier's Award for Indigenous Writing, and shortlisted for the 2020 Miles Franklin Literary Prize; Ghost River, winner of the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Indigenous Writing, and Blood, which was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award in 2012. He is also the author of Shadowboxing, and three short story collections – Father’s Day, The Promise and Common People.

In 2017 Tony was awarded the Patrick White Literary Award. In 2021 he will release two new books, a poetry collection, Whisper Songs, and a new short story collection, Dark as Last Night. Tony Birch is also an activist, historian and essayist.

Portrait of Emmett Stinson

Emmett Stinson

Emmett Stinson is a lecturer in publishing and communications at the University of Melbourne and president of SPUNC, Australia’s only advocacy group for small presses.

Portrait of Louise Swinn

Louise Swinn

Louise Swinn is a writer, publisher, critic, literary event chair and the editor of Choice Words: A Collection of Writing About Abortion (Allen and Unwin, 2019). Her work appears regularly in the Age, the Australian and the Sydney Morning Herald. She was one of the founders of Sleepers Publishing, the Small Press Network and the Stella Prize.

Portrait of Jenny Niven

Jenny Niven

Jenny Niven was the Wheeler Centre’s Associate Director. She is currently Portfolio Manager for Literature, Publishing and Languages at Creative Scotland.

Listen to Texts in the City: Things We Didn't See Coming