Jane Downing was born in Australia but was taken to live on Manus Island three weeks later. She has since lived in Tanzania, Ireland, Indonesia, the (then) USSR, China, the Marshall Islands and Guam, as well as Australia. While living and working in the Marshall Islands, where truth was often stranger than fiction, she began to write.
She has had short stories published in journals around Australia and overseas, including in Southerly, Westerly, Overland, The Big Issue, Griffith Review, UTS Anthology, Australian Short Stories, Antipodes (US), Headland (NZ), Kunapipi (Denmark), Paris Transcontinental (France) and Silverfish (Malaysia). In 2016 she was one of two Australians shortlisted, out of nearly 4000 entries from 47 countries, for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. She also has poems published including in Cordite, Rabbit, Poetrix, the Canberra Times and Best Australian Poems (2004 & 2015).
A collection of her short stories, Searching for the Volcano (fourW press), was released in 1999 and her two novels – The Trickster (2003) and The Lost Tribe (2005) – were published by Pandanus Books at the Australian National University. Her next novel Yack was Commended in the Jim Hamilton Unpublished Manuscript Award, as part of the Federation of Australian Writers National Literary Awards, 2016. Most recently a collection of poetry, When Figs Fly, was published by Close-Up Books in 2019.
She has a Doctor of Creative Arts degree from the University of Technology, Sydney.
She is now part of the publishing team at Obiter Press.