Lives In Books #1: Russ Litten

Russ Litten is the author of Scream If You Want To Go Faster (2011), Swear Down (2013), Kingdom (2015), and We Know What We Are (2017). His debut poetry collection, I Can See The Lights (2020), was published in February 2020 by Wild Pressed Books. Thank you Russ for agreeing to answer the following questions.

1 What are you reading at the moment? Fiction – Bella by R. M. Francis, a sort of folk horror tale based on an old Midlands myth.

Non-fiction – The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff, which is equally as terrifying.

2 Did you enjoy reading while growing up? If so, which comics/books and writers were your favourites?

Avid reader from the age of four. I loved Beezer, Topper, Action Comic, 2000 AD, all the Marvel superhero stuff. Then I got into A Pair of Jesus Boots by Sylvia Sherry, Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain and The Goalkeeper’s Revenge by Bill Naughton.

3 Which books do you recommend to others?

I think I’ve bought people the short stories of Raymond Carver more than any other writer. More recently it’s been Preparation For The Next Life by Atticus Lish.

4 If any, which writers have influenced your writing?

Jack Kerouac, Raymond Carver, Jenni Fagan, Sherwood Anderson, William Carlos Williams, Carson McCullers, Niall Griffiths, Barry Hines, Nelson Algren, Cormac McCarthy, B. S. Johnson, Denis Johnson, Daniel Woodrell, Keith Ridgway, Lucia Berlin … Loads and loads.

5 Desert Island question – which book would you take with you?

The one I’m writing now.

Russ Litten’s I Can See The Lights is now available from the publishers, Wild Pressed Books, at and all excellent bookshops such as

J. E. Books. 😍