Rijn Collins is an award-winning Australian writer with a background in linguistics, a future in Iceland, and a passion for stories of the odd and obsessed. Over one hundred of her short stories have been published in anthologies and literary journals, broadcast on Australian and American radio, and performed at literary festivals.
My writing studio holds Viking sagas, bell jars of snake skins and the tiniest of bird skulls. Souvenirs from stories are scattered all around the room. I particularly love the research stage of writing: I’ve studied the pathology of trichotillomania and learned songs to ward off the bubonic plague, applied for my snake handler’s licence and learned how to do my own taxidermy. I’ve chased down stories in the Amtrak station in Jackson, Mississippi, in Pushkin’s old apartment in St Petersburg, Russia, and on the local #86 tram in Melbourne, Australia. I can even, if asked, perform both the courtship and the disturbance hiss of the Madagascan hissing cockroach.
Once, investigating the causes of pica, a disorder where people are compelled to eat paper, I admit to ripping a page from my notebook and cradling it in the palm of my hand. I frowned, I closed the curtains, but you know I opened my mouth.
My first published writing was in feminist punk zines in the nineties, stapled together by hand. I’ve worked my way up to anthologies, literary journals, magazines, newspapers and podcasts, with work published in SmokeLong Quarterly, Going Down Swinging, Corium, Wigleaf, The Big Issue, Sundog Lit, Verity La and River Teeth Journal, among others. I’ve performed or spoken on panels at the Melbourne Writers Festival, Emerging Writers Festival, Williamstown Literary Festival, Newstead Short Story Tattoo and Write Around the Murray Literary Festival, among others, and regularly perform with the literature/music collaboration of Stereo Stories. My writing has been broadcast on Australia’s Radio National, as well as American and British radio, and included in the Third Coast Audio Festival in Chicago. My work has won awards from as far afield as New Orleans, Melbourne and New York, where my short story, Almost Flamboyant, won the inaugural Sarah Awards for International Audio Fiction.
I’ve been an Artist-in-Residence in a tiny Icelandic fishing village up near the Arctic Circle, now the setting of my first novel, and again in a remote forest in Finland. I’m deeply interested in stories of isolation and its effect on identity; whether geographical isolation, such as in far northern Iceland, or that which is more social and psychological in nature.
I’m drawn to the cold, the quiet, and the quirky.
I no longer eat my stories.