Interrobang Interrogation – Claire Askew

To countdown to INTERROBANG: Lost in Space?! continues. T-4 DAYS until Saturday, 29th April at 2pm.

We’re very happy to introduce you to our latest crew member, CLAIRE ASKEW. We’ve been fortunate enough to see her blast off into the creative heights around town, but  we’re particularly excited to hear that she’s going to be treating us to some new material.

The stars in space shine for you, etc.
And the wall, it was all yellow (sorry). Photo credit: Sally Jubb Photography

Claire Askew is a poet, novelist and general dogsbody writer-for-hire based in Edinburgh.  Her first book of poems, This changes things, was published by Bloodaxe in 2016, and shortlisted for the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award and the Saltire First Book Award.

Claire’s currently completing a debut crime novel on the cheery theme of male violence and how it affects the women who must pick up the pieces in its wake.  Next, she’d like to write a zombie novel about what might happen if the humans tried to negotiate with the zombies.  You can follow all of Claire’s antics on Twitter @onenightstanzas.

And here’s how she answered our questions:

?!:  You’re packing before blasting off with the Interrobang Space Cadets. What item are you taking with you to represent the human race?

CA:  I don’t know how well it represents the whole human race, but I can’t go anywhere without my notebook.  It’s full of random observations scribbled while people-watching, so it’d probably provide a useful human field guide for any aliens I encountered…

Our new alien overlords thank you very much, Claire
And the notes are bilingual, too?! Eh? Oh.

?!: Sitting on the launch pad, you feel like you’re starring in a sci-fi movie. What’s your favourite piece of science fiction?

CA:  Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin, because it’s the most genre-bending book I think I’ve ever read, and it’s a story within a story within a story.

?!:  As the Space Ship Interrobang pulls away from the Earth, you look down and see the curve of the planet. You play a piece of music to accompany this incredible moment. What is it?

CA:  Something by Led Zeppelin, perhaps the greatest band Earth has ever produced.

?!:  Mama, feast your ears, as Robert Plant might say. When the track ends, you look down again and see home is a little blue marble. For some reason, you’re hit by a vivid memory of a time you lost something down there. What was it?

CA:  I try not to have regrets about things that have lost or ended… but I did once miss out on seeing Tom Waits play live, and still kick myself about it… does that count?

?!:  Definitely! Back on the spaceship, you’re looking forward to presenting a piece of poetry or prose or music to the weird-looking people you’re going to encounter with the Interrobang crew. Without being too spoiler-ific, what can you tell us about it?

CA:  I’m just back from a month spent on retreat on a mountainside in Inverness-shire… an experience that felt very “lost in space” at times, I can tell you!  I’ll be sharing new poems written on that retreat.  Some of them might be pretty NSFW, just warning you all!

Helmets on, lads!
The Zep boys have decided to join the trip now!

 Thanks a lot to Claire for indulging the INTERROBANG?! Interrogation. If, like us, you want to hear a poet at the height of her powers discovering her new material,  come along to INTERROBANG: Lost In Space?! at The Biscuit Factory on 29 April (admission free, £5 suggested donation)

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