Sylvia Kelso was born in Townsville and has lived there since 1983. She attended the University of Queensland as an undergraduate, then travelled extensively, including three years in Europe researching a historical novel on the Second Punic War. While working on the family station after returning to Australia in 1980, she began to write fantasy fiction set in a secondary world with analogue Australian landscapes. In 1985 she started working at James Cook University in Townsville, where she became an adjunct lecturer. In 1997 she was awarded a PhD for her thesis on feminism(s) and the Gothic and SF popular fiction genres. Her academic articles have appeared in Science Fiction Studies, Extrapolation, Foundation, and Journal for the Fantastic in the Arts, and she is a Contributing Editor to Paradoxa: Journal of World Literary Genres. Her academic publications include a monograph on Sheri S. Tepper and Three Observations and a Dialogue, a collection of essays and discussions concerning SF (2009). In 2002 she was awarded an MA in Creative Writing for an as yet unpublished SF novel, Following Eurydice.
Three of Kelso's poems were published in a mid-1970's anthology of Australian Women's poetry, and her poetry has also appeared in LiNQ, where at various times she has been a fiction editor. Her published fantasy novels include Everran's Bane (2005), The Moving Water (2007), Amberlight (2007), The Red Country (2008), and Riversend (2009). Her short fiction has appeared in Antipodes, and two anthologies, Neverlands and Otherwheres (2008) and New Ceres Nights (2009). In 2012, Kelso edited The WisCon Chronicles: Voices of WisCon.
Amberlight2007single work novel fantasy Because an oracle tells her that he must not die, Tellurith, the Head of a great ruling House, retrieves a battered outlander left for dead in the streets of the legendary city of Amberlight. Although stripped of his memory the man may know of a threat to Amberlight's unique possession: the motherlodes of the qherrique; the pearl-rock that gives the Riverworld rulers their most powerful tool. Tangled in intrigue, insurrection and brutal warfare, it takes a cataclysmic upheaval for Tellurith and the stranger to begin to understand the more-than-human mystery that first brought them together.
The Moving Water2007single work novel fantasy The empire of Assharral is wealthy, peaceful and secure, its ten provinces stretching over deserts, plains and mountains, eight races shielded under its roof. The empress of Assharral is powerful beyond resistance, beautiful beyond flaw, immortal beyond the threat of age. As she dreams beside her fountain, it seems nothing can ever change. Until a stranger enters Assharral, a landless, penniless vagabond - a vagabond who knows how she has enspelled the empire, whose very presence will fling Assharral into the throes of bitter conflict, battle, and destruction: and then, into ultimate change.