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

Writer

I mostly write fiction exploring what it is to be young, queer and working class.

I’ve been longlisted for the Lucy Cavendish Prize for Fiction, the Mslexia Novel Competition and a Young Enigma Award. I’m currently working on my first novel, which received a Northern Debut Award at the 2019 Northern Writers Awards.

Want to read some of my work? Here are some short stories available online:

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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Bus interior

Pop Rocks & Diet Coke

It’s Friday, so the school bus home is bedlam; too hot even with the air-con on and the skylights open, letting the exhaust fumes in. People grinding on the back row, the radio blasting acid house. Metalhead Daniel painting his nails black in the seat behind, ready for the weekend. And Mark from Year Eleven, not taking no for an answer in truth or dare.

He kneels up in front; top button undone, tie knotted round his head like Rambo. Before we’re halfway home, he’s got Kelly to admit to getting fingered by his cousin. Then James has to drink pop rocks mixed with diet Coke; Mark’s heard it’ll make his stomach explode.

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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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Fire

The Anatomy of Fire

I’m not a cutter. What I love is the star-scarred smoke-soaked taste of fire. When we go out I rattle spraycans, emerge like a queen from an aerosol mist. Goddess of train tracks, crumbling brick walls and foxes, bonfires blazing like comets, knowing what’ll burn the  best from construction sites and skips. I’m a sucker for it; materials melted and sizzling, disappearing down to dust. That’s what it felt like, that first time we kissed.

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Jane Claire Bradley at the Royal Albert Hall

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