Flyaway paperback — and 25% off pre-order

Flyaway by Kathleen Jennings

The US paperback of Flyaway is available for pre-order! It comes out on 25 April 2023, but now (that is, 25 to 27 January 2023, USA time) Barnes & Noble is offering get 25% off this edition of Flyaway (AND every other pre-order title) with the code PREORDER25 at checkout.

“Kathleen Jennings’ prose dazzles, and her magic feels real enough that you might even prick your finger on it.”—Kelly Link

“An unforgettable tale, as beautiful as it is thorny.” —The New York Times Book Review

In a small Western Queensland town, a reserved young woman receives a note from one of her vanished brothers—a note that makes her question memories of their disappearance and her father’s departure.

A beguiling story that proves that gothic delights and uncanny family horror can live—and even thrive—under a burning sun, Flyaway introduces readers to Bettina Scott, whose search for the truth throws her into tales of eerie dogs, vanished schools, cursed monsters, and enchanted bottles. Flyaway enchants you with the sly, beautiful darkness of Karen Russell and a world utterly its own.

A British Fantasy Award Winner!

A Ditmar Award Winner!

A 2021 World Fantasy Award Finalist!

A 2020 Crawford Award Finalist

An Indie Next Pick!

Named a Best of 2020 Pick for NPR

Transformation, enchantment, and the emotional truths of family history teem in Kathleen Jennings’ stunning debut, Flyaway.

Interview with (and Flyaway art by) Anika Kls / Artventurin

Anika Kls (Artventurin) drew this glowing image for Flyaway as part of her work with the Charting the Australian Fantastic program at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf — she showed it to me when we met in Glasgow, and my print of it just arrived.

Hand holding a print of an illustration: a blonde girl in a red cloak holding up a hand to a Tasmanian tiger on a rock, with sunset in the background

You can see more of her work on her website (and commission her) here: and order prints from, and in the meantime, I asked her some questions…

  1. Why draw, and what do you love about it? 

Over the years, I found drawing to be a vital tool of self-expression. When I go through my collection of drawings, I can see  whether I was in a good or bad mood as it will affect my colour palette. However, I also just love the challenge of creating something; of finding inspiration in your surroundings and pursuing your own visions in it. Sometimes I get the weirdest ideas for an art piece when looking at something entirely different, so I try to translate it into my own version. 

2. How do you choose a scene to draw?

I am a very visual person. When I read a scene and the images just effortlessly flood into my head, it’s usually a go for me. There has to be something that speaks to me; it’s quite hard to explain. Whenever I have various options, I construct a mental image and ask myself some questions: what would the colour palette be like? How is the scene arranged? Where do I position everything? What are the expressions like? And most importantly, can I pull it off and do it justice?

3. Can you say a bit about how you ended up working with Charting the Australian Fantastic, and the illustrations you do for them?

I initially attended the Charting the Australian Fantastic course, which is lead by Bettina (Tina) Burger and Lucas Mattila. They offered creative tasks every now and then, which was just perfect. The two tasks I chose allowed me to illustrate one scene from Lion Hearn’s Across the Nightingale Floor and re-draw a Shaun Tan piece in my own style. After handing that in, Tina and Lucas, who were conveniently looking for an assistant, contacted me and asked me if I would like a job (needless to say that I did).

The illustrations I did range from simple character/background sketches, logo designs or fully rendered illustrations for books and short-stories. The wildest ones were probably for Alan Baxter’s The Roo. I am not an expert on kangaroo anatomy and I’m quite sure the FBI is keeping an eye on me now for the endless google searches of gore.

Sketches of people playing guitar, and sketching a lamppost in Glasgow
My sketch of Anika and Tina in Glasgow in July

4. Why did you choose to illustrate this scene for Flyaway?

As with every illustration I did for Charting the Australian Fantastic, it was a shared discussion process with Tina and Lucas. We all read the story and needed a very representative image, so we threw some ideas around. It was a trial and error process, but in the end, this scene was the one that had burnt itself into my brain and that worked out well when I did the sketches. 

5. What do you hope to do with your art in the future?

That’s a very tough question. Right now, I’m trying to do as much freelance work as possible next to my studies here in Glasgow since prices are skyrocketing. Fan art is always fun to do, but I recently got into DnD and specifically DnD character designs, so I would like to pursue that more in the future. 

Depending on what comes after my postgraduate, I might even try to focus solely on illustrations if an opportunity presents itself. The biggest goal is still to design a book cover or do in-book illustrations (Bon Orthwick’s illustrations for Empire of the Vampire blew me away, so there is that goal).

Anika Kls illustration of a pastry shop
“Hive of Glass”, from Anika’s portfolio

6. Any other questions you wish I’d asked?:D

Is it hard? Yes, especially when you’re a perfectionist like me and try to meet expectations. 

Do I know what I’m doing? No, but I’m still doing it (trust the process!).

Do you regularly forget to eat and drink while drawing because you’re so caught up in the process and then almost black out? How dare you call me out like that.

Anika Kls Illustration of burning building and figure reaching to giant crow
Anika Kls illustration for Catching Teller Crow (Ambelin and Ezekiel Kwaymullina) for Charting the Australian Fantastic

More about Anika

And Flyaway, by me

Ditmar Awards: Flyaway and Mother Thorn

I am delighted and honoured to have received Ditmar Awards for best novella (for Flyaway) and for art (for the illustrations for Mother Thorn, by Juliet Marillier). Congratulations to all my fellow nominees J Ashley-Smith, Alan Baxter, Robert Hood, TR Napper, Keeley Van Order and Rovina Cai, and also to the winners and nominees in the other categories.

If you’d like to know more about Flyaway, there are excerpts, links, interviews and reviews on this page: Flyaway.

I’ve written several posts about Mother Thorn including an interview with Juliet Marillier and process posts about the cover art and internal illustrations.

Ditmar Awards open for voting

The Ditmar Awards are open for voting until THIS FRIDAY 19 NOVEMBER 2021 (one minute before midnight Canberra time, which is 10.59pm Brisbane time). Members of any of the last 5 Australian Natcons are able to vote.

It’s a delightful shortlist, and I’m thrilled to have works shortlisted in three categories (links to more information included):

  • Flyaway ( and Picador) for Novella
  • Mother Thorn (by Juliet Marillier, Serenity Press), for artwork

Observation Journal: Industrial Fabulism

On this observation journal page l was looking at the idea of industrial fabulism.

A few weeks before this, I noted I was interested in the “fabulist-practical and the industrial-fantastic”. This is something that appears in articles in car magazines at mechanics’ offices (often very romantically written) and in some of Diana Wynne Jones’ books, in collections of rural inventions and the science columns in 19th-century periodicals and in Cold Comfort Farm, in Longitude and Apollo 13 and Tales of the Marvellous and News of the Strange.

It was also a choice I had to actively make in Flyaway, choosing to underline the reliability of beauty by describing aspects of even mechanical detritus as worthy of notice. And it runs throughout Travelogues, much of which involved processing an industrial landscape through the language of enchantment. I touched a little on that in the post All the shape of the land: “a way not only of expressing the experience of made things, but of experiencing the world through them, and finding enchantment in that.”

Extract from Travelogues

So on this journal page, I was identifying that particular aesthetic and its appeal. Some points:

  • It is more of a mode/style/setting than a genre.
  • It relies on and seeks out beauty in machinery:
    • It is realism in service of fabulism.
    • There’s a conscious effort to enchant.
    • Lyricism is used to deal with industrial objects and surroundings.
    • It’s an innate aesthetic — not adding a gloss of beauty to the mechanical/industrial, or bolting ornaments on, but seeking it in the objects themselves. The industrial can even be what adds beauty to the fantastic.
    • It represents a society without a division between the technical/technological and the fantastic.
  • It is not the same as clockpunk/steampunk/dieselpunk.
    • There can be overlap, but there is an effort to distinguish itself from the usual genre markers (e.g. going for a blue tint instead of sepia).
    • It leans on machinery more than the fantastic.
    • It often avoids the obvious supernatural/fantastic altogether.
  • Its appeal for me includes:
    • It is anchored in the real. The enchantment is integrated into reality/realism, OR the fairy-tale is anchored by the industrial element.
    • As mentioned above, it’s an integrated/innate aesthetic.
    • It’s designed to be actively attractive.
    • The cliches and stereotypes of the industrial (especially as opposed to the fantastic) are well established, so I need to consciously choose to use the mode, which can make writing in it a pleasing puzzle. (Swapped descriptions, e.g. light vs tin cans, and switched stereotypes are useful for this.)

British Fantasy Award — Flyaway for Best Newcomer

I’m hugely honoured to have received the British Fantasy Award (The Sydney J Bounds Award) for Best Newcomer, for Flyaway!

Congratulations to all my fellow nominees — here are their books!

And many congratulations to all the winners:

  • BEST NEWCOMER (THE SYDNEY J. BOUNDS AWARD)Kathleen Jennings, for Flyaway (Tordotcom)
  • BEST FILM / TELEVISION PRODUCTIONThe Boys: What I Know (Season 2, episode 8)
  • BEST NON-FICTIONWomen Make Horror: Filmmaking, Feminism, Genre, ed. Alison Peirse (Rutgers University Press)
  • BEST ARTISTDaniele Serra
  • BEST COMIC / GRAPHIC NOVELDIE Vol. 2: Split the Party, Kieron Gillen & Stephanie Hans (Image Comics)
  • BEST INDEPENDENT PRESSLuna Press Publishing
  • BEST AUDIOThe Magnus Archives, Rusty Quill
  • BEST ANTHOLOGYDominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora, ed. Zelda Knight & Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki (Aurelia Leo)
  • BEST SHORT FICTIONInfinite Tea in the Demara Café, Ida Keogh (in “London Centric: Tales of Future London, Newcon Press)
  • BEST COLLECTIONThe Watcher in the Woods, Charlotte Bond (Black Shuck Books)
  • BEST NOVELLARing Shout, P. Djèlí Clark (Tordotcom)
  • BEST HORROR NOVEL (THE AUGUST DERLETH AWARD)Mexican Gothic, Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Jo Fletcher Books)
  • BEST FANTASY NOVEL (THE ROBERT HOLDSTOCK AWARD)The Once and Future Witches, Alix E. Harrow (Orbit)
  • KARL EDWARD WAGNER AWARD — Alasdair Stuart

Shortlist — British Fantasy Awards

A huge honour (and surprise): Flyaway has been shortlisted for the “Best Newcomer (The Sydney J. Bounds Award)” at the British Fantasy Awards!

Congratulations to all my fellow nominees (and links to their books):

The full announcement of the shortlists in all categories is at:

Flyaway: World Fantasy finalist


I am thrilled and honoured that Flyaway has been included as a finalist in the World Fantasy Awards for best novella.

My fellow-nominees are

  • Ring Shout, or Hunting Ku Kluxes in the End Times by P. Djèlí Clark (Tordotcom)
  • “Stepsister” by Leah Cypess (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, May/June 2020)
  • The Four Profound Weaves by R. B. Lemberg (Tachyon Publications)
  • Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi (Tordotcom)

Here is the full list of Final Ballot and Life Achievement Award Winners for the awards, to be announced this November.

Megan Lindholm
Howard Waldrop

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke (Bloomsbury)
Trouble the Saints by Alaya Dawn Johnson (Tor Books)
The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones (Saga Press/Titan UK)
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Del Rey US/Jo Fletcher Books UK)
The Midnight Bargain by C. L. Polk (Erewhon Books US/Orbit UK)

Ring Shout, or Hunting Ku Kluxes in the End Times by P. Djèlí Clark (Tordotcom)
“Stepsister” by Leah Cypess (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, May/June 2020)
Flyaway by Kathleen Jennings (Tordotcom)
The Four Profound Weaves by R. B. Lemberg (Tachyon Publications)
Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi (Tordotcom)

“Glass Bottle Dancer” by Celeste Rita Baker (Lightspeed, April 2020)
“The Women Who Sing for Sklep” by Kay Chronister (Thin Places)
“The Nine Scents of Sorrow” by Jordan Taylor (Uncanny Magazine, July/Aug. 2020)
“My Country Is a Ghost” by Eugenia Triantafyllou (Uncanny Magazine, January/February 2020)
“Open House on Haunted Hill” by John Wiswell (Diabolical Plots, June 15 2020)

Edited By, edited by Ellen Datlow (Subterranean Press)
The Valancourt Book of World Horror Stories, Vol. 1, edited by James D. Jenkins and Ryan Cagle (Valancourt Books)
Shadows & Tall Trees 8, edited by Michael Kelly (Undertow Publications)
The Book of Dragons, edited by Jonathan Strahan (Harper Voyager)
The Big Book of Modern Fantasy, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer (Vintage Books)

The Best of Jeffrey Ford by Jeffrey Ford (PS Publishing)
Velocities: Stories by Kathe Koja (Meerkat Press)
Where the Wild Ladies Are by Aoka Matsuda, translated by Polly Barton (Soft Skull Press US/Tilted Axis UK)
We All Hear Stories in the Dark by Robert Shearman (PS Publishing)
Nine Bar Blues: Stories of an Ancient Future by Sheree Renée Thomas (Third Man Books)

Rovina Cai
Jeffrey Alan Love
Reiko Murakami
Daniele Serra
Charles Vess

Clive Bloom, for The Palgrave Handbook of Contemporary Gothic (Palgrave Macmillan)
C. C. Finlay, for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction editing
Jo Fletcher, for Jo Fletcher Books
Maria Dahvana Headley, for Beowulf: A New Translation (MCD X FSG Originals US/Scribe UK)
Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock, for The Monster Theory Reader (University of Minnesota Press)

Scott H. Andrews, for Beneath Ceaseless Skies: Literary Adventure Fantasy
Brian Attebery, for Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts
Michael Kelly, for Undertow Publications
Arley Sorg and Christie Yant, for Fantasy Magazine
Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas, for Uncanny Magazine

Flyaway shortlisted for Courier-Mail People’s Choice Award (voting open now)

Shortlist for The Courier-Mail People’s Choice Award

Flyaway has been shortlisted for The Courier-Mail People’s Choice Queensland Book of the Year Award! The winner is determined by public vote, and voting is now open. Anyone in Australia may vote, one vote per person, with polling closing on 16 August 2021.

It is a tremendous honour to be included on the shortlist with seven various and wonderful other titles — and particularly with Angela Slatter‘s gothically fantastic All The Murmuring Bones. I have been working on cover art for the (forthcoming) hardcover of Angela’s novel, and Flyaway wouldn’t have happened without her. So do with that information what you will!

The shortlist judges said of Flyaway:

A dazzling gothic fairy tale of rural Australia. The disappearance of Bettina Scott’s family members leads her to uncover truths about her home – the haunting spectacle of small-town psyche expertly sewn throughout the novel. There is a magic rooted in this story that grows more real with every page.

So if you are based in Australia and willing to vote (according to your conscience!), voting is now open on the State Library website here: The Courier-Mail People’s Choice Queensland Book of the Year Award.

Barnes & Noble, Union Square!

Photo by Jennifer London for Sam J Miller

I pinched (with permission!) this photo Jennifer London took of Sam J Miller’s novel The Blade Between in the front of store display in the Union Square Barnes & Noble in New York, because my Flyaway is there too!

You can buy both books through all good bookstores. The Blade Between is published by Ecco/Harper Collins and Flyaway is published by in the USA and Picador in Australia.

I’ve written more about the two Flyaway covers here: Flyaway Cover Comparison.