LJMU graduate launches debut novel

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The ‘Alice and the Fly’ book cover. Pic by Christella Twagirayezu © JMU Journalism

Local writer James Rice launched his debut novel ‘Alice and the Fly’ at Leaf on Bold Street, with a book which has been described as “heart breaking, haunting and unforgettable”.

The event, which took place on January 15th attracted a large crowd of supporters for the John Moores University Creative Writing graduate as his former classmates and friends also attended to support the up-and-coming writer.

Mr Rice told JMU Journalism: “I wouldn’t have done all this if I wasn’t on the MA at John Moores. I met my agent there, so the course helped a lot.

“I came up with this idea in school. I decided I was going to take this one idea and keep writing it until it was good. So I did and here we are seven years later.”

Sara Oskovi, who attended the launch, told JMU Journalism: “I was on the MA writing course with James. We sometimes worked together, looking at chapters and criticising them. His writing was amazing, I can’t wait to read it in full. It’s like nothing I’ve ever read before.”

The book, which is to be published by Hodder and Stoughton at the end of this month, surrounds a love story about phobias and obsessions. It’s written from the point of view of a teenage boy named Greg who explores all areas of his life through a journal written to a girl he’s infatuated with.

An online review said: “Alice and the Fly really is a most amazing read, immediately addictive, haunting, and terribly authentic, with some beautifully written prose. There’s an almost creepy, unsettling ambience, this will draw you in and hold you there throughout.”

James Rice reading his debut novel

Author James Rice reading his debut novel. Pic by Christella Twagirayezu © JMU Journalism

His brother Michael Rice said: “He was really secretive and we couldn’t work out whether it was a ploy. He told us that it was quite dark but we could kind of already guess that from the way that he is. I’m blown away and very proud.”

More support came from his work colleagues at Waterstones in Southport who went to the event and sold copies of the book to the crowd.

Emma Legan said: “James works with us as a book seller, I have read the novel and it’s brilliant. It’s received countless brilliant reviews already and people are comparing it to books such as ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’, which is a best-seller.”

James stated that he is a third of the way through his second book. He said: “The next one is quite dark, it’s more real and true to life. I’m quite a miserable man!” he joked. “It’s going to stay quite dark and part of it is finding the humour.”


About Christella Twagirayezu, JMU Journalism