Romy Ash is a fiction writer and essayist. She lives in Melbourne.
Her debut novel Floundering was published in Australia in 2012, and has been the beneficiary of much acclaim. In 2013 it was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award, Commonwealth Book Prize, and won the Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelists Award.
Her stories stretch from east coast to west and stations in-between, and the points of reference found within feel tactilely of this country: chip packets on sweaty car seats; the cool of a dank pub; the smell of a ripe mango in your palm.
The two young boys at the centre of her novel—brothers Tom and Jordy—are rendered with clear grasp of mental rhythms of childhood, a logic that Ash never loses hold of even as their unreliable mother abandons them in extremis at an isolated West Australian caravan park. This unfussy psychological acuity runs throughout her fiction. Her characters are familiar to us even as they are strangers to themselves and their loved ones.
Her pieces have appeared in The Big Issue, Griffith Review, Kinfolk, Meanjin, and elsewhere. Her essay ‘Shooting Lunch’ was anthologized in The Best of the Lifted Brow Volume 1. She is sometimes known as a food writer, from her work on the cooking website Trotski & Ash (now also featured on The Guardian’s Australia Food Blog).
The interview took place in my living room in Melbourne. An edited series of extracts from this conversation will appear in The Lifted Brow #22.
- James Robert Douglas