Full Name: Michael Pryor
Date of Birth: 23 April
Place of Birth: Swan Hill, Victoria
Height: 173 cm
Interests: Computers, the Internet, games of all sorts, sport, reading, food, wine, gardening
Favourite Colour: Blue
Favourite Book: Probably Lord of the Rings
Favourite Film: It changes, but currently The Big Lebowski
Favourite Dinosaur: Triceratops
Favourite Food: Curry
Favourite Word: Cashmere
Favourite Animal: Pig, with otter a close second
I was born in Swan Hill, Victoria. I spent my childhood in country Victoria and Melbourne before moving to Geelong at the age of 10. I lived in Geelong until I went to university in Melbourne after secondary school.
I currently live in Melbourne with my wife Wendy and my two daughters Celeste and Ruby. I’ve worked as a drainer’s labourer, a truck driver, a bathroom accessories salesperson, an Internet consultant, a Multimedia Developer, a Publisher, in a scrap metal yard and as a secondary school teacher. Whew.
I’ve taught English, Literature, Drama, Legal Studies and Computer Studies.
Over forty of my short stories have appeared in Australia and overseas in publications such as Overland and the New South Wales School Magazine. My writing moves from literary fiction to genre Science Fiction to slapstick humour, depending on my mood.
I’ve been shortlisted six times for the Aurealis Award for Speculative Fiction, and has also been nominated for a Ditmar award. My short stories have twice been featured in Gardner Dozois’ ‘Highly Recommended’ lists in The Year’s Best Science Fiction and The Year’s Best Fantasy. Five of my books have been CBC Notable Books, I’ve been longlisted for a Golden Inky and I’ve been shortlisted for the WAYBRA Award. I’ve also twice won the Best and Fairest Award at West Brunswick Amateur Football Club.
Why is Science Fiction/Fantasy good for young people? Because it exercises the imagination. By reading about and participating in the alternative and the possible, readers are actively extending their thinking, their imagination. In a society where creative and lateral thinking are valued, reading SF and Fantasy is a real work out for the mind.
Also, thinking about the future is an important way of preparing yourself for it. The future is a constant concern for young people (What’s it going to be like? What am I going to be?) and by exploring the possibilities of the future through fiction, young people are learning to be prepared. Imagining oneself in different scenarios and situations can help flexible thinking and adaptability. And Science Fiction/Fantasy are fun.
Funny incidents while writing? Hmm… When I write an action sequence, I think it’s important to get the physical details right – to help the reader feel what the characters are experiencing. So when there’s a fight, I often get up from the keyboard and act it out – “his head snapped back and he fell onto his right shoulder”, throwing myself around the room to get the details right. Same goes for facial expressions. I’m often scowling, grimacing, grinning, chuckling, yawning, gaping while I’m writing. All of this must make for an unusual display for any flies on the wall…
Why do I write? Because it’s fun. Because I like creating something that I’m in control of. Because it’s like being an explorer in an unknown country, finding my way through the dense undergrowth of plot and the uncharted wildernesses of character. Because I always figured that I could do what those writers I read did. Because I get to meet other writers. Because of the thrill I get when I see my name on the cover. Because of the thrill I get when someone says, “I liked your book”. Because there are important things to say. Because reading’s important. Because I want reading to be seen as a viable alternative form of recreation. Because it’s an urge to tell a story. Because it’s part of a long, long tradition going back to the dawn of time and I felt its call. Because the people at Random House are so good to work with.