Gita Ralleigh completed her MA in creative writing at Birkbeck in 2015 and has had short stories published by Wasafiri, Bellevue Literary Review, Fox Spirit, the Word Factory and Freight (February 2017). She is currently writing a children’s novel and had her first poem for children published by The Emma Press in 2016.
What are you reading right now?
I recently finished the wonderful A True Novel by Minae Mizumura which is a reworking of Wuthering Heights set in post-war Japan. Otherwise everything from classic children’s lit (Joan Aiken, Phillip Pullman) to graphic novels (Monstress, Paper Girls) to short stories (Whatever Happened to Interracial Love by Kathleen Collins). I tend to skip between books.
Where do you write?
On the kitchen counter, in cafes, on the underground. I love the British Library Reading Rooms when I have a ‘proper’ writing day.
Does travelling inspire your writing?
I don’t travel as much as I’d like to, but I love writing when away from home. Things seem to come into focus, somehow.
Paper and pen or laptop?
Laptop with lots of secret scribbled notebooks.
What was the first book you read that made a difference?
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
What one book would you take to a desert island?
So hard! Probably The Collected Works of Shakespeare. And I’d have to have a notebook and pencil.
Which new author should the world be reading?
I love the Jamaican-American YA author Nicola Yoon (Everything, Everything and The Sun is Also a Star) who makes believable teen romance look easy when it’s really, really not.
What book or books are you most looking forward to reading next?
The new Arundati Roy novel, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. June 2017!!!
What role does Wasafiri play in international contemporary literature?
Wasafiri has played a hugely important role in championing writers of colour and providing redress to the middle-class white and somewhat dull world of ‘literary’ publishing. I hope it keeps shaking things up.