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Academic pressure, diversity and having an ‘artsy soul’: A Q&A with ‘Radio Silence’ author Alice Oseman


Alice Oseman’s ‘Radio Silence’ has only been out a short while but it’s already making waves. (Get it? Making waves – ‘Radio’ waves?) Well, bad puns aside, it’s one rockin’ read, and we were given the chance to chat to the author herself.

adventure time

Read on to see how it all went down.

Can you describe the plot of Radio Silence in the length of a tweet? Frances is obsessed with getting into Cambridge & obsessed with a YouTube show. Then she discovers the show’s creator lives on her street…

Which of your characters (from either Solitaire or Radio Silence) are you most like? Equally Frances and Aled (both from Radio Silence)! In very different ways. They’re two quite major aspects of my personality.

You’re quite outspoken about the fact young people DON’T have to go to university and Radio Silence deals with this as well. Do you think the academia path is pushed too heavily? Yes. At many schools, going to university is presented as the only option for young people post-school, and students are bombarded with the idea that getting bad grades and failing to pass their exams and get into university means that you are stupid and useless. Everything students do in schools today is for the sake of exams and qualifications. The original point of academia – to learn and to be enriched – has been entirely lost, and students are falling victim to serious stress problems and mental illness.

How do you manage to balance university life and your writing? Any advice for other aspiring writers drowning in coursework? I’m actually extremely bad at this! I’m very stressed all of the time and I do most of my essays the night before they’re due. My advice to other writers who also study would be to plan and manage your time! But I really am terrible at that.

Radio Silence also has an amazing cast of diverse characters. Do you feel passionate about diversity in YA lit? Absolutely. Providing diversity in literature is important, easy, and, quite frankly, realistic. Everyone deserves to see themselves in the books they read.

Any YA cliches out there that drive you crazy? YES. Insta-love, love triangles, the ‘chosen one’, ‘bad boys’, just to name a few…

AliceOsemanComicWe’ve noticed you’re quite an artsy soul (from our blatant internet stalking). Can you share with us your favourite piece of art/video you’ve ever made? Oh wow, one single favourite!!? I’m not sure whether I can choose an ultimate favourite… but I do really love this comic I drew a few months ago about Charlie Spring (from Solitaire) and his recovery.

Check it out here.

Finally, because we all want to know where the magic happens, send us a picture of where you write. I write all over the place, but most of the time I write in bed:

alice osman q a

Have you read ‘Radio Silence’ yet? Tweet us about it @maximumpopbooks

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Written by Sarah Clare

Sarah is the Lead Writer and Design Queen here at Maximum Pop! Sarah holds an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University, and a BA in Creative Writing with English Literature from Marjon (BIG UP THE MARJON MASSIVE!). Sarah joined MP! after seeing an advertisement for writers on Instagram – because where else would a design master find their dream job?

Sarah is currently working on an expose on Draco Malfoy in her spare time. But not if his father hears about it.

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