Alice Ash is a new writer in Brighton. She revels in deep angst, total beauty and everlasting love. She is completely unstable. Alice is working on her novel, The Crowded Void, and has just published a very short short story book called The Woman. Alice is working with illustrator Luther Ivan Adams to create a full-length, illustrated collection, which will be available in the New Year. We asked Alice some questions to understand a bit more about her.
Does living in Brighton influence your work?
YES. Brighton has a lot of colour in a lot of dark places.
Did you grow up on a healthy dose of reading? What was your favourite book as a child and why?
We had a video player until I was about five, when it got broken. My mum took the video player to the video fixing shop, which was actually the home of a con artist called Roy. Roy collected up as many video players as he could and then ran away. We never had a telly and then we never had a video player either. This meant that I spent my entire childhood reading. I would finish a book and then start from the beginning again.
Not many other kids thought that I was cool.
During the younger years my favourite book was The Vicar of Nibbleswicke by Roald Dahl. The Vicar of Nibbleswicke is about a Vicar who has a rare condition that makes him talk backwards. The Vicar ends up saying loads of rude things to elderly ladies. This blew my seven-year-old mind.
This is a woman called Miss Prewt. You can imagine what happens when the Vicar calls on her. HILARIOUS!
I also remember being profoundly moved by a story in my Children’s Treasury of Stories about a Giant who lived in a beautiful walled garden. In the story children would peak through cracks in the wall but the Giant would eat anyone who climbed to the top of and tried to scramble over. In the end Jack Frost punishes the Giant by freezing the whole garden. Jack Frost kills the Giant with a bout of hypothermia. The children climb the wall and frolic in the thawing garden, laughing and singing. I always wanted the Giant to defrost and rip their little heads off.
Oh, and The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is obviously the most beautiful piece of writing that has ever existed.
I’ll stop now.
Can you explain your creative process in 5 words?
Total fucking abyss of pain.
Do you have a favourite line or passage that you’ve written?
I said, ‘Would you ever go with another man?’
She said, ‘I’d rather cut open my veins with a rusty, blunt knife and drink all of my own blood through a straw until I died.’
Have you been crippled by writers block before and how do you bring yourself out of it?
I drink coffee to the point of stomach ulcers, burn myself with joss sticks, cry in the bath and abuse alcohol, especially red wine. I’ve written about 50 short stories but tend to go at them with the delete key or a marker pen until there’s nothing left.
The blank page gives me nightmares.
Who do you look to in admiration?
The people who aren’t quite right.
You can buy one of the last copies of The Woman at the B Rad Gallery in Pool Valley, Brighton.
Emilie & Jen