AustLit logo
Gillian Polack Gillian Polack i(A74888 works by) (a.k.a. Gillian S. Polack; G. S. Polack)
Born: Established: 1961 Melbourne, Victoria, ;
Gender: Female
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.


Born in Melbourne, Gillian Polack has a Bachelor of Arts (First Class Honours) in History from Melbourne University, a Master of Arts from the Centre for Medieval Studies (University of Toronto), a Doctor of Philosophy in History at the University of Sydney from the University of Sydney, teaching qualifications from the University of New England, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Creative Writing from the University of Western Australia.

Polack researches food history, including teaching food history at the Australian National University. She has also been a columnist for the American online literary magazine BiblioBuffet, and has worked on the conference circuit, including WorldCon, Flycon (an online science-fiction convention), and Conflux. Her non-fiction includes scholarly work on the Middle ages, including Arthurian literature, food, and Jewish experiences in the medieval period.

Gillian Polack received a Macquarie Bank Fellowship and a Blue Mountains Fellowship to work on novels at Varuna writers' residence in the Blue Mountains. She has published a number of novels and short stories, and has also edited collections of speculative fiction.

In 2018, IFWG Published Australia announced that they would be publishing a new science-fiction novel by Polack, The Year of the Fruitcake, in the first quarter of 2019.

For works not individually indexed on AustLit, see notes below.

Most Referenced Works


  • In addition to the works individually indexed on AustLit, Gillian Polack has also written the following. Most of these works are outside AustLit's scope; some (noted as such) are unsighted.

    • History and Fiction: Writers, Their Research, Worlds and Stories, Peter Lang, 2016.
    • 'Australian Speculative Fiction and the Land: Culture and Ownership' (conference paper), Holdfast, 2015.
    • 'Grim to Grimdark,' in Fantasy and Science Fiction Medievalisms: From Isaac Asimov to A Game of Thrones ed. Helen Young. Cambria University Press, 2015.
    • (with Katrina Kania) The Middle Ages Unlocked: A Guide to Life in Medieval England, 1050-1300 (Amberley Books, 2015).
    • 'Dialogue and Doomsday: Comedy and Conviction in Connie Willis and Oscar Wilde', Vector, 2013. (Periodical details untraced.)
    • 'Edith, Gussie and Linzertorte', Storied Dishes, ed. Linda Berzok, Greenwood Press, 2010.
    • 'Red Paper' (short story), Conflux, 2009 (unsighted).
    • 'The Middle Ages' (chapter), in Women in Science Fiction and Fantasy: volume 1, ed. R. A. Reid, Greenwood Press, 2008.
    • 'Geoff Ryman's Realities,' Steam Engine Time no.9 (2008).
    • two entries in The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Love, Courtship, and Sexuality through History (W.E. Burns, 2008).
    • 'How Fiction Writers use the Middle Ages' (unsighted), AntiTHESIS forum, 2005.
    • 'An Exploration of Jewish Fairytales' (unsighted), Fables & Reflections no.7 (2005).
    • A Medieval French Rosh Hashanah (Kosher Consumers' Association, 2003).
    • Once and Future: Medieval and Modern Arthurian Literature (Occasional Papers 1, Arthurian Association of Australia, 2000).
    • 'William of Orange' in Medieval Folklore: An Encyclopedia of Myths, Legends, Tales, Beliefs, and Customs (ABC-CLIO, 2000).
    • 'A Brief Introduction to Medieval Jewish Arthurian Literature', GrailQuest '99 Conference Proceedings, 2000.
    • 'Modern Feminism and the Medieval Arthurian Romance: A Reflection', Once and Future: Medieval and Modern Arthurian Literature, Arthurian Association of Australia, 2000, pp.14-20.
    • 'Immersed in a Sea of Perplexed Thoughts: Some Ideas on a Medieval Text', Once and Future: Medieval and Modern Arthurian Literature, Arthurian Association of Australia, 2000, pp.47-48
    • 'International Folk Dance in Canberra, Australia', Newfolk: New Directions in Folklore, no.4 (2000).
    • 'Words' (short story), Emu Literary Magazine, Spring-summer 1985 (unsighted).
    • 'Twilight' (short story), Yddgrasil, 1982 (unsighted).
    • 'The Performance' (short story), The Journal, 1982 (unsighted). This story also won a Victorian Government Ministry for the Arts Award.
    • ' A New Life', Kivin, 1981.

Personal Awards

2023 nominated Ditmar Awards William Atheling Jr Award for Story Matrices: Cultural Encoding and Cultural Baggage in Science Fiction and Fantasy
2022 longlisted British Science Fiction Association Awards Non-fiction for ''Story Matrices: Cultural Encoding and Cultural Baggage in Science Fiction and Fantasy'
2020 winner A. Bertram Chandler Award

Awards for Works

y separately published work icon Poison and Light Canberra : Shooting Star Press , 2020 18983176 2020 single work novel science fiction

'Renowned artist Grania, famed as a painter of light, arrives in a sleek space ship from Lost Earth, ready to embrace New Ceres and its New Enlightenment in its entirety – its 18th century set up, its coffee houses, its gossipy salons, and its obsession with a low-level approach to tech . . . But is she really ready for its cutthroat society, its strange food issues or for Livia? Livia who toys with lives on a whim, and will stop at nothing to realize her dream society.

'When Grania marries Dal and sets up her own political salons, the stage is set for a battle of wills and poisonous chaos ensues.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2021 shortlisted Ditmar Awards Best Novel
y separately published work icon The Year of the Fruit Cake Victoria : IFWG Publishing Inc , 2019 16751051 2019 single work novel fantasy

'The Year of the Fruitcake tells of the Earth-based life of a mostly-mindwiped alien anthropologist inhabiting a human perimenopausal body instead of her own more rational body with its capacity to change gender. This alien has definitely shaken a great intergalactic empire by sitting in cafés with her new best friends. Chocolate may or may not have played a part. Will humanity survive?'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2020 winner Ditmar Awards Best Novel
2019 shortlisted Aurealis Awards for Excellence in Australian Speculative Fiction Science Fiction Division Novel
y separately published work icon Mountains of the Mind Canberra : Shooting Star Press , 2018 16785827 2018 selected work short story

'Mountains of the Mind – A Polack Retrospective contains never before published early work from Dr Polack, prizewinning published pieces and brand new short stories written especially for this book. It will surprise and delight fans of her previous 6 novels and non fiction publications, and introduce new readers to the complexities and subtleties of Dr Polack’s short stories. Traversing the mountains and valleys, and following the twists and turns in time and place you will return again and again to the stories in this book. The paths to the top of these mountains are many, and the views from there are spectacular.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2019 shortlisted Ditmar Awards Best Collected Work
Last amended 26 Sep 2023 08:27:11
Other mentions of "" in AustLit: