“Haha now send your REAL bio”

The organisers of a writing function in Singapore once asked Emma A. Jane to e-mail over her biography. When she obliged, they e-mailed back saying “ha ha very funny now please send us your REAL biography”. With hindsight, she thinks this was a reasonable response.

Emma Alice Jane was born Emma Jane Tom in November 1969 and grew up in the unfashionable western suburbs of Sydney followed by the slightly more fashionable rural suburban haven of coastal New South Wales. Her house was just up the road from a giant fibreglass prawn designed to promote the local crustacean industry. It had eyes on sticks that followed you up and down the highway and was almost as surreal as the atrophying Giant Oyster a few hours south.

The Big Prawn at Ballina, not far from where Emma grew up

The Mona Lisa-esque enigma that is Ballina’s Big Prawn.

EJ began working for the print media since 1988. That was the year she got a cadetship on The Northern Star newspaper in Lismore despite wearing unforgivably large earrings and forgetting the name of Australia’s foreign minister during the interview. Her first big break in journalism occurred when a triple murderer wrote to her from jail saying he liked her work. He thought the piece she’d written on his recapture after a jail break was particularly commendable – then offered to give her some clues about the location of the bodies.

Emma at the Big Day Out

Rocking out with her first-aid vest out at Perth’s BDO.

Since then, Emma A. Jane has written for a veritable bevy of Australian and overseas publications including The Australian Literary Review, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian (UK), SZ-Magazin (Germany), Grazia, Australian Personal Computer, Notebook:, Cosmopolitan, Cleo, The Sun Herald, The Daily Telegraph, Australian Author, Australian Traveller, Marie Claire, Max, Woman’s Day, Australian Women’s Forum, Lesbians on the Loose and Ms Rider (a magazine for female motorcycling enthusiasts).

In June 2001, the Women’ s Electoral Lobby awarded Emma the Edna Ryan Humour Award for using wit to promote women’s interests. This followed her receipt of the 1997 Henry Lawson Award for Journalism which was awarded for a story on do-it-yourself funerals. Two of her journalistic enterprises made appearances in the 1997 Carlton and United book of Best Australian Sports Writing and Photography.

Emma interviewing world champion F1 driver Jacques Villeneuve

Shooting the chic with former world champion F1 driver Jacques Villeneuve in Milan (as you do).

Emma served on the Advertising Standards Board from 2003 to 2009, is the author of seven books and has performed throughout Australian in an assortment of rock bands. On top of all this stuff, EJ has worked as a babysitter, waitress, barmaid, dating agency pamphlet hander-outerer, hearse driver, and ghost and history tour guide (she has an actual bus licence). She also made spectacularly brief appearances in the films Garage Days and Idiot Box.

Emma now works as a Senior Research Fellow at UNSW. She can often be located in a home office that contains an embarrassment of thesauruses, a wild-eyed nine-year-old, and a yip of small dogs. She is a big fan of queer penguins, the surreal subject lines of spam e-mails, cattle dogs that look like they’re wearing eyeliner and toddlers who call her “bum bum poo head” at the park. In her spare time, she eats from dodgy Sydney curry houses and gazes adoringly at her tearaway daughter.

Squiggling

Squiggling