Alexa Radcliffe-Hart

27 March 12 words: Katie Shanks
“I would like to connect with new writers, and to introduce literary fiction to writers who have always thought it wasn't for them.”

 

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Alexa Radcliffe-Hart

Alexa Radcliffe-Hart is the General Editor for Fruit Bruise Press, a new literary development and promotion programme dedicated to developing those who aren’t afraid to experiment with daring and challenging concepts. This year, she’s a guest at East Midlands writing festival Alt.Fiction.
 
How has Fruit Bruise Press come about, and can you explain a little of the ideology behind it?
Fruit Bruise Press came about after I starting working with Adam Lowe and the team at Dog Horn Publishing. They publish risk taking, cutting edge literature, which often is genre driven within the realms of alternative fiction (sci-fi, fantasy or horror) where experimental works can be extreme and very exciting. We had received several submissions which were risk taking but more of a literary experimental nature with a character-led focus rather than genre plot basis to the narratives. The first literary work that we published was Wes Brown's Shark which is a story about the dispossessed and how they get by, from the perspective of an ex-soldier returned from Iraq to his home in Leeds which is now a changed place to the one he left. It pushes a lot of boundaries with literary grounding, and it was from here that we started discussing how the hidden voices of the country could find a literary home with us.
 
What advice would you give to somebody thinking about submitting work to yourselves? 
I'd advise writers to think about what they want to get from the process of working with Fruit Bruise Press as we provide support for writer development; working with the author to drive their work towards publication. I personally look for characters which connect, fiction that reflects on current social and economic situations and writing which transports me within realism. We look for writers whose work matches one of the following criteria, as well as being 'literary' in nature:
1. Transgressive - works that experiment with form, practice, genre; works that take risks
2. Excluded - the writer is from, or the work specifically addresses issues relating to, backgrounds and/or communities traditionally excluded from mainstream commercial publishing (e.g., ethnic or sexual minorities)
3. Emergent - the writer does not yet have a proven track record of publication and/or is under 30 years old.
 
You’re at Alt.Fiction this year…
I will be a guest at Alt.Fiction to run an hour long Fruit Bruise workshop, which will be an introduction to the future literary development programme which aims towards enabling twenty writers who meet the criteria above to be published with the Fruit Bruise Press anthology of new writing. Adam Lowe, Chief Editor at Dog Horn Publishing, will also be a guest on two panels and our team will be available on the Dog Horn Publishing stand.
 
What can people expect from the Fruit Bruise workshop?
To break some literary rules! In all seriousness, the workshop will be a jump start to bring characters out of places that perhaps the participants haven't thought to look in and to get as much writing done within the time at hand. 
 
What are you hoping to get out of the workshop yourself?
That's a really good question. I would like to connect with new writers, and to introduce literary fiction to writers who have always thought it wasn't for them.  All too often literary writing is seen as elitist or inaccessible for readers and writers without academic backgrounds. We feel they should be introduced to and get involved with the way in which literary works can explore characters, language and style in more experimental forms. Readers and writers of all backgrounds should be catered for, and their voices heard.  
 
Is there anyone in particular you’re really looking forward to meeting?
Mark Barrowcliffe (MD Lachlan) is just one of the guests I'm looking forward to meeting; I find his writing interesting both in contemporary and fantasy genres. But really, Alt.Fiction is full of so many writers which makes it a fantastic event to be involved with. The Flash Fiction Open Mic has caught my eye, along with several others on the schedule with so much to choose from!
 
What have your experiences of genre events like Alt.Fiction been like so far? 
Before my first genre event, I was worried. I had attended a lot of literary festivals, but these tend to either have an "anything and everything" basis, or a purely literary one. There is often a divide between genre writing and literary writing, but I don't believe there has to be that divide between writers. Writers love writing, and with that shared appreciation, a lot of discussion, sometimes debate, and, most importantly, learning can occur between writers when they are placed within an event which actively encourages it. So my opinion is that they've been very positive and sometimes it's important to look at your work from a new and different perspective.
 
And finally, what’s next for Fruit Bruise Press? 
Coming up this year for Fruit Bruise Press will be the full literary development programme and the anthology of new writing which is incredibly exciting and we are working our way through the nuts and bolts of the project currently. That prospect, and the opportunity to start working with two new writers from this month on the manuscripts which have been selected to be the first published under the FBP imprint is what is exciting me about what lies ahead. So many opportunities for new voices to be heard!
 
14 & 15 April 2012
Phoenix Digital Arts Centre, Leicester.

 

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