Jane Claire Bradley Performing Spoken Word
Credit: Karen Herman-Wright

Writing

I write fiction and performance poetry about teenagers, trauma, queerness and class.

My debut novel, The Summer Everything Happened, won the Northern Debut of the Year at the annual Northern Writers Awards. I’ve been longlisted for the Mslexia Novel Competition, the Lucy Cavendish Prize for Fiction and a Young Enigma Award.

You’ll find links to some of my published short stories below. Most recently, I’ve been featured as a contributing author in Test Signal (2021), a ground-breaking anthology of the best contemporary Northern writing, published by Dead Ink Books and Bloomsbury. I’m currently working on a second novel, and am represented by Silvia Monteni at Peter Fraser Dunlop.

Keep reading for more details of where you can find my work…

We're Made of Electricity

It starts in the heatwave summer. There are power cuts and no rain and we play out as long as we can, until Imogen and Amber go missing. Before we know about them, we are satisfyingly feral, roaming the estate until dark. There have been storms, on and off, and the air tastes of tin. On the park, there’s a burnt tree everyone says was struck by lightning. When the fat raindrops start coming, we stand underneath its blackened branches. Half believing it won’t hit the same place twice, half as a dare to the sky. We are defiant, soaked through and shivering in our thin summer holiday t-shirts, watching the clouds shift and churn. The rain, when it hits us, is like being pelted with coins.

Published in Test Signal by Bloomsbury & Dead Ink Books, July 2021

Order your copy here

Televised Revolutions, Then Noodles

She was spinning her chair in slow circles, consulting clipboard and phone at the same time, relaying a long update into her microphone. The staff for the next shift had arrived hours ago, earlier than they were due. They’d seen what was happening, of course, and knew they’d be needed. But by then we’d had the rumour that another wave attacks was coming, so no-one could go. Needed all the bodies we could get, so to speak. The death count was mounting and the atmosphere in the studio was tense and hectic. But there was something else, too: a sense of having a role in amongst all the horror and questions and chaos.

Published in Under the Radar, Autumn 2020

Order your copy here

Bad Dream

That night, Lucy went to a party; two friends of hers who hadn’t gone to uni and got jobs and their own place instead. Tacky decorations everywhere; fairylights from the pound shop, silver-foiled chocolates in the shape of snowflakes hanging from a big plastic tree. Rebel, Rebel on the stereo and tinsel everywhere. Lucy drank gin and orange from a plastic cup under plastic mistletoe; wondered whether she’d ever kiss anyone ever again. Then she met Mel, in her silver wig and mismatched contact lenses to make her look like Bowie, glitter blizzarding from her eyelids with every blink as she asked Lucy if she wanted her tarot cards read.

Published in Popshot Quarterly, ‘The Chance Issue’

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A couple kissing in front of the sun

Inevitable

It’s Jordan’s turn next. He cracks his knuckles and says dare like the word’s a dare in itself. Just try it. Come up with something he won’t do. No one ever has so far, but they keep trying. Down a full bottle of tequila, run headfirst into a wall. He was worse when he was younger. Now he fights most days without any dares so they keep their challenges softer, but still. This is where their knowledge of each other shows, when they use what they know like vicious ammunition.

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Swings in a park

Don’t Tell Me You’ve Never Thought About It

When I met her on the corner to walk to school the next morning, we didn’t talk about it. But it was there, sore as toothache or something sharper. The idea of hurting her was a slow knife sliding between my ribs, and I wasn’t going to risk it like that again. Sleeping together made me realise I had to love her like a sister; unconditional and fierce. We were bonded then, not just by secrets and stories and the web we’d weaved together. But by blood and spunk and sweat and tears.

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Snowy street

Pancakes & Firelighters

I’ll leave Mum a note tomorrow. Tell her everything. Not the exact details, just enough. I know she’ll be better off without me. Especially once the police come calling, when she finds out what we’ve done. Once I’m sure she’s asleep, I finish getting ready; check from all angles, make sure the scars can’t be seen. Then slip downstairs. Count to ten, disarm the alarm. Then slide back the bolts and into the dark.

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You’ll also find fiction by me available in a range of literary journals and anthologies, including books by Hic Dragones, Crocus Books, Dog Horn Publishing and Pankhearst.

I love reading and performing my writing, and have been onstage at all sorts of events, including performing at the Royal Albert Hall, the Royal Exchange, Polari Literary Salon, Contact Theatre, Edinburgh Fringe and many more.

If you’re programming a spoken word event, I’d love to be considered: please get in touch to discuss.

Or, if you want to see me in action, you could come along to the spoken word night I host in Manchester each month, That’s What She* Said.

Contact me here

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