Clare Reddaway has been writing short stories for some years, having discovered she likes the buzz of reading in front of an audience (the audience claims to like it too). She has read her stories at events and festivals throughout the south west, where she lives, and she runs a live short literature event in Bath called Story Fridays. Her short stories have been published in anthologies, in magazines, in print and online – most recently, Barren magazine and Fictive Dream. This year she received first prize as well as local prize at the Frome short story competition, having previously won the Wells and the Momaya short story prizes and been short- and longlisted for the Mslexia, Fish, Yeovil, Exeter, Bath and Magic Oxygen competitions, among others. Her stories have been broadcast on BBC Bristol, BBC Wiltshire, Frome FM and on hospital radio stations. She likes site-specific writing and has created and curated story events such as Story Fridays Goes Swimming, a promenade through a derelict Georgian lido in Bath; Foraged Fictions, stories inspired by the landscape of Bath National Trust property Prior Park; and From Flanders Field To Bath, a commemoration of the centenary of the war hospital in Bath – all of which were well received by the Bath public. Clare is also an emerging playwright, and her plays have been performed throughout the UK, including a run at the Edinburgh Festival and productions in London and the south west. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University. She is currently developing a couple of new plays, and is working on an anthology of interlinked short stories.
Q: If you could travel back in time, which of the great writers would you like to meet and why?
A: I’d like to meet Angela Carter for the weirdness, Sylvia Plath for the darkness, Aphra Behn for the anecdotes, Oscar Wilde for the craic.
Q: What is the first book you remember reading or having read to you as a child?
A: My mother used to read to me all the time and I remember a big fat book of Greek myths that I loved. The gods were all so very bad and so very human.
Q: Is there a book that you keep going back to, and if so, how many times have you read it?
A: Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome. I have it on audio tape. I listen to it when I need cheering up. I’ve listened countless times, I can pretty much recite it, and I reference it in conversation over-frequently, usually to blank stares.
Q: What is the least interesting part of writing for you?
A: The bit between projects when I think that I’ll never have an idea again ever. Then one sneaks in and I get that kind of fizzing of potential. It’s always a huge relief.
It was the cold that woke Alma up. The stove must have gone out. She poked her nose out from under the furs that lay heavy on the bed. The window was covered in hoar frost, the layers of swirls and fronds turning the glass into a fantastical forest of white. This must be a …
The pebbles hurt the soles of her feet. She doesn’t care. Hurting is good. Pain is what she deserves. She steps into the water. The sea is deceptive. The shallow, nibbling waves with their light froth of white are not the warm waters of the Aegean. They freeze her ankles, her shins. She shuffles forward …