Jasmin Kirkbride is a writer and editor. She is currently undertaking a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing at UEA, exploring climate change in science fiction and hope in ecocritical dystopias. Her fiction has appeared in magazines including Fictive Dream, Ash Tales, Haverthorn, and on the cover of Open Pen, and has been shortlisted for awards including the 2019 EVENT Magazine Speculative Fiction Contest. Jasmin has also written a series of self-help books aimed at young adults, including Stress Less, Believe in Yourself, Boost and Don’t Panic. Her writing is represented be Sandra Sawicka at Marjacq literary agency, and she is currently working on her first full-length novel. For more information, visit: www.jasminkirkbride.com.
Q: If you could travel in the past, which one of the great writers would you like to meet and why?
A: It would be impossible to answer this question without having some kind of chrono-dimensional feast. I’d have it in the mythical hanging gardens of Babylon, serve Roman delicacies, and everyone would lie on couches in glorious robes, Byzantine-style. I would invite George Orwell, Sylvia Plath, Joseph Heller, Kurt Vonnegut, Cicero, and a smattering of Milesian philosophers. Obviously, we’d all have universal translators implanted, or it wouldn’t work. I’d just love to be a fly on the wall for that group of minds setting the world to rights.
Q: Is there a book that you keep going back to and how many times have you read it?
A: It varies throughout my life: in my teenage years, I couldn’t get enough of Catch-22, Weaveworld and The Road; my early twenties were The Unbearable Lightness of Being and Down and Out In Paris and London; my mid-twenties are all about Three Moments of an Explosion and anything by Kurt Vonnegut and Terry Pratchett.
I think revisiting books is about the phase you’re in – if you’re a growing human being, there’s only so long a book can be a mirror or window for you. Really great books transcend that; they transform with you, offering new facets up to you as you understand more about life. The way I read The Road now is not the way I read it as a seventeen-year-old.
Q: If you could teleport yourself anywhere, real or fictional, where would it be and why?
A: There’s a hill in the middle of Amman that is covered in the ruins of an ancient acropolis. At sunset, the stone turns Petra-rose, and you can hear the call-to-prayer from every mosque in the city echoing up through the hills and streets, mingling together into one great song. It’s very peaceful and magical, like someone’s about to pull the curtain back on reality. I’d go back there anytime.
The composer prefers to address the choir with the manuscript laid out before her, as if she were a priest. She bends over the sheaf of papers, examining the first page. She must have done this a thousand times, but she still worries that one day she’ll turn up and be unable to read what’s …
The rain begins with that soft, familiar sigh of release. No pitter-patter – not from this altitude – but a sense of falling with no confirmation of receipt. One long, diminishing descent. His heart sinks and he rolls over, hiding his face in the pillow for just five more seconds, trying to blot out the …
‘It is probably best if we start with your body. I’d like you to touch yourself – on the arm, the face – somewhere where your hand can make contact with your skin. Feel it. Soft. Malleable. Our bodies are fantastically adaptable – fantastically adaptable – to external conditions. Well now, let’s think about that …