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Inky Awards Shortlist: Interview with Alice Oseman

Sep 15,2017
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Brodie: Hi Alice!

Oh. My. Gosh. Before I introduce myself as Brodie, a 2017 Inky Awards judge (whoops, I introduced myself), I need to say how incredible Radio Silence is. Amazing. Marvellous. Astounding. I could go on! Once I finished reading Radio Silence I was terrified of forgetting how amazing I was feeling, so I got my iPad, and on it I now have a video of myself at 9:00, wrapped in a blanket, wearing my reading glasses, talking about the beauty of this book!

Alice: Hi Brodie! Thanks so much for your questions, and for reading and loving Radio Silence! This all makes me so, so happy to hear! And I am over the moon to be shortlisted for such an incredible award!

B: As Brodie, a 2017 Inky Awards judge (there I go again!), I’ve been given the opportunity to write a few questions to you. There is quite a lot I would love to know about your book, but I have narrowed down my five questions.

What is your book about?

A: Radio Silence is the story of Frances Janvier, a high-achiever destined for Oxbridge. Everyone knows her as a highly academic ‘clever girl’, but in secret, she spends all of her time obsessing over a YouTube podcast called Universe City. Just as Frances is gearing up to apply to Cambridge University, she finds out that the creator of Universe City lives across the road, and when they meet and form a friendship, Frances begins to question everything she thought she knew about herself and her future…

B: Did you shape Radio Silence through what you know, or from your imagination?

A: Radio Silence was inspired by certain experiences I’ve had! I, like Frances, was a very high achiever at school and was heavily pressured to apply to Oxford or Cambridge University. After failing to get into Cambridge, and then having a horrible time at the university I went to, I was inspired to write a story that told young people that you don’t have to go to university or follow the paths others set out for you in order to have a happy, fulfilling life.

The plot and characters were from my imagination, but elements of the story were inspired by too many things to name! For example, the Universe City podcast was inspired by my love for the Welcome to Night Vale podcast. Which you should definitely listen to, if you haven’t already.

B: Was it hard to write characters that you like/dislike without being biased?

A: Not really! It’s fun to write characters I like and characters I dislike. It’s much harder to write characters that you feel neutral or very little about… usually that means that something’s wrong, and I need to re-think their personality!

B: As a public figure and role model, is there a message you would like to share or be associated with?

A: With Radio Silence, I really want to express the idea that you don’t have to go to university if you don’t want to. Teenagers today face enormous pressure from teachers, schools, parents, and even peers to go to university, even if they don’t really want to. Academia, high grades and test scores are highly prized, while other traits like creativity and empathy aren’t rewarded or cared about. I want to share the idea that there are other paths through life and other ways to find success and happiness other than getting good grades and going to university.

B: If you won the Silver Inky Award you would…

A: Probably have a good old happy cry about it. Then celebrate with pizza.


Thank you so much! I hope you have a lovely day.

Alice Oseman is nominated for the Silver Inky Award. You can vote in the Inkys here.

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