Cat Sparks is a multi-award-winning Australian author, editor and artist. Fiction editor of Cosmos Magazine from 2010-2016, she’s also been employed as a media monitor, political and archaeological photographer, graphic designer and manager of Agog! Press, which produced ten anthologies of new speculative fiction from 2002-2008.
Cat was born in Sydney and has traveled through Europe, the Near East, Indonesia, the South Pacific, The Greek islands, Mexico, North America and China. Her adventures so far have included winning a trip to Paris in a Bulletin Magazine photography competition; being appointed official photographer for two NSW Premiers and working as dig photographer on three archaeological expeditions to Jordan.
Cat directed speculative fiction festivals at the NSW Writers’ Centre in 2015 and 2017 and has been a panellist/speaker at literary events including Writing NSW’s Quantum Words, Sydney Writers’ Festival, Write Around the Murray, Thirroul Readers and Writers Festival, ANU Student Research Conference, Melbourne University’s ThoughtLab, SLQ’s Our Digital Future—Paradise Lost or Paradise Found, Canberra Writers’ Festival, SXSW in Austin and Worldcon 75, Helsinki as well as being a regular panellist at Australian speculative fiction conventions including Conflux, where she was a Guest of Honour in 2008; Swancon and Continuum, where she was a GOH in 2018. She has taught classes on writing speculative fiction for Writing NSW, The NSW Society for Women Writers and The Australian Writers’ Centre.
Cat’s debut novel, Lotus Blue, was published by Skyhorse Press in 2017 and shortlisted for the Compton Crook, Aurealis and Ditmar Awards. A graduate of the inaugural Clarion South Writers’ Workshop, 2004, she was a Writers of the Future prize winner in 2005. She has edited five anthologies of speculative fiction and seventy of her short stories have been published since the turn of the millennium.
Her short story collection The Bride Price was published by Ticonderoga Publications in May, 2013. The book was nominated for an Aurealis Award and won the Ditmar for Best Collected Work in 2014.
An academic paper co-written with Rose Michael: ‘Why speculate – the current state of ‘spec-fic’ publishing’, appears in Text Special Issue Number 51. Cat’s articles on post apocalypse and climate fiction have been published at Tor.com, Hypable, Whatever, Electric Literature, Boing Boing and The Daily Beast.
In 2005, she was a Writers of the Future Contest prizewinner with her story “Last Dance at the Sergeant Majors’ Ball”. This contest was started to help discover new authors. They recently announced the books and stories by these now professional writers (including features for Lotus Blue and Ecopunk! Speculative Tales of Radical Futures).
Cat has received a total of twenty-two Aurealis and Ditmar awards for writing, editing and art including the Peter McNamara Conveners Award 2004, for services to Australia’s speculative fiction industry. She was the convener of the Aurealis Awards horror division in 2006, a judge in the anthologies and collected work category in 2009 and the short SF division in 2013.
Her story ‘All the Love in the World’ was reprinted in Hartwell and Kramer’s Years Best Science Fiction, Volume 16. ‘Dragon Girl’ was included in Ticonderoga’s The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror 2015, and ‘New Chronicles of Andras Thorn’ was included in Ticonderoga’s The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror 2016. ‘Hot Rods’ first published in Lightspeed Magazine, also appeared in in Loosed Upon The World, published by Saga Press.
In January 2012 Cat was one of 12 students chosen to participate in Margaret Atwood’s The Time Machine Doorway workshop as part of the Key West Literary Seminar Yet Another World: literature of the future. Her participation was funded by an Australia Council emerging writers grant.
She recently completed a PhD in creative writing through Curtin University entitled Capitalocene Dreams: Dark Tales of Near Futures & The 21st Century Catastrophe: Hyper-capitalism and Severe Climate Change in Science Fiction.