Leia loves experimental poetry and enjoys work that is visually exciting and boldly brilliant. She has a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. She is a winner of the Streetcake Experimental Poetry prize (2019), and her work also appears in Re-side, Beir Bua, and on The Babel Tower Notice Board. Her first poetry collection ‘Tear and Share’ is available at Broken Sleep Books. She is currently also exploring sound and object work.
Q: Can you tell me a bit about your writing background? What made you want to be a writer?
I've always been interested in words and storytelling, and it was always an important way of me being creative, but I didn't start playing around with my writing until my last year of 6th form and first year of university. It was then that I found streetcake's experimental writing prize and entered a piece called 'Word Ladder', which ended up winning first place in my category. After receiving mentoring from the wonderful Sascha Akhtar and encouragement from the streetcake crew, I really found my writing style. I then began doing lots more reading and research into poets that were doing some exciting things, and I started taking my writing seriously.
Q: Your new pamphlet is very unique and innovative. Can you tell me a bit more about your influences and what made you want to create a collection that people can literally tear and share?
I started writing Tear and Share as part of my dissertation in my final year of university last year. Back in 2019, Sascha and I had been chatting about different forms and discussing how cool something like a tear away perforated sketch book could be, and I really wanted to play around with this ripping element. My collection is centred around a COVID-19 lockdown landscape, a time that was lonely, heart-breaking, and incredibly difficult. There were so many kinds of separation between people everywhere and so, so much distance. My collection is themed around that sense of loneliness and the pamphlet encourages readers to rip out the pages as part of a therapeutic process to take back control over the difficult times. Readers have the authority to rip out and do whatever they want with the pages: burn them, tear them into pieces, share them/mail them to/with a friend. Once you get past it feeling a bit unnatural to rip pages out of a book, it becomes a really interesting experience. I used one of the pages as a coaster and repeatedly put my mug down on it over a period of time, to replicate the duplication of how everyday looked the same for me in lockdown. Every page has a QR code where you can upload pictures, and I'd really love to see people getting creative and manipulating the pages!
Q: Can you tell me about any of the current projects you're working on?
I'm currently working on a few things! One is a collaborative sound project with some really exciting people. Pieces will be published on a separate site called the audio experiments and I'm so looking forward to sharing some of the projects on there. I'm also working on some object pieces and a collection around my personal deepest fears and how it impacts every part of my life.
Q: You also run the amazing Full House Lit Mag and podcast. What's your favourite thing about running a mag and doing a podcast?
Running Full House alongside the brilliant JP Seabright, has just been the best thing for me. Through the magazine and the podcast, I get to meet and talk to so many wonderful people and I've learnt so much about writing. My favourite thing is when we get to put the spotlight on people, whether through publishing them, speaking to them as a guest, or shouting out their piece on our podcast. I also love working with our team of volunteers who give so much to Full House, we'd be lost without them. You can find the FH website here if you are interested! https://www.fullhouseliterary.com/
Q: Who are some of your favourite writers who are writing currently?
So, SO many! Immediately springing to mind are JP Seabright, Claire Hampton, Kinneson Lalor, Nóra Blascsók, E. J. Coates, Ollie Charles, Richard Capener, Briony Hughes, and yourself of course. Other wonderful creators would include James Knight, Astra Papachristodoulou, Aaron Kent, Chris Kerr, Helen Bowie, Michelle Moloney King, Shiksha Dheda, Mandira Pattnaik and essentially everyone I follow on Twitter! My timeline always fills me with such joy.
Q: And just for fun - which writer would you have a cuppa with if you could?
I couldn't pick one! Let's just have a giant tea party with everyone. Cake on me!
You can view more of Leia's work on her website (https://leiabutler.com/)
Some images for Tear and Share