AUSTRALIAN writer Sara Warneke, who wrote as Sara Douglass, died in Hobart after a long battle with cancer on 27 September 2011 at age 54. She was one of the vanguard who opened international doors for Australian fantasy writers with her Axis Trilogy (beginning with her debut novel BattleAxe in 1995). Her last publications were the novel The Devil’s Diadem and a collection of short stories, The Hall of Lost Footsteps, which both came out last year. She wrote more than 20 books; three won Aurealis Awards for best fantasy novel.
From the obituary by Sara’s friend and carer Karen Brooks:
She was a very solitary person who lived in her imagination as much as she did in the real world. I think she would be overwhelmed by what people are expressing on various forums now; she would be laughing in her unrestrained and contagious way and shaking her head in bewilderment. Read the full post.
Writer and critic Lucy Sussex, in an obituary in the Sydney Morning Herald:
Middle Ages history informed the imaginary sword and sorcery realms of her novels, and made them credible, lived-in worlds. Read the full article.
Sara, from a 1999 interview:
I work in life as an historian, but not in academia as such, no. I found that life very restrictive where one has to justify every statement one says and add at least 56 footnotes to every page. Writing historical fantasy — or fantasy as a genre is tremendously liberating. I am having such a ball! Read the full interview.
Sara, on her Silence on the Dying blog post:
When it comes to death and dying, we impose a dreadful silence on the dying lest they discomfort the living too greatly. Read the full post.
A Locus review appearing with the 2003 edition of BattleAxe (HarperCollins Voyager):
Douglass has the breadth of vision necessary to create sweeping epics and the storyteller’s gift that makes readers love her.
THIS tribute is posted here as part of the 2012 Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. We’re blogging interviews from 1-8 June and archiving them at Australian Speculative Fiction in Focus. You can read interviews at:
- Tehani Wessely
- Kathryn Linge
- Helen Merrick
- Sean Wright
- David McDonald
- Tansy Rayner Roberts
- Alisa Krasnostein
- Alex Pierce
- Ian Mond