Josh Oldridge

short story writer and aspiring novelist

About

Dropping out of university with depression was a life-defining moment for me. It took many years to climb out of that dark hole. But when I did, I came out stronger.

I write fiction based on real life. Depression is a theme which has naturally worked its way into many of my stories. The cathartic release of writing is the main reason for me taking up the pen in the first place. But it’s not a theme in all of them. Other things I like to write about include: travelling adventures and some of the issues surrounding it, the pressures facing young people growing up, some of the fallacies of the British educational system, and the need for men to open up more – not only about mental health, but a whole range of things. I’m also working on some stories pertaining to issues in amateur sports. I’ve worked in a variety of different places – various office jobs, bar tendering, as a cycle technician, and as a farmhand to name a few – and these naturally slip into the prose.

Many of the stories are based upon incidents I have experienced or those around me have. As my writing (hopefully!) continues to develop, I want to try to write more frequently from the perspective of others, and in that way I hope to draw attention to people whose lives are affected by other important issues, but also people who have done amazing things in their lives and deserve to have their story told as a tool for inspiration.

Life is seen and lived from different perspectives – billions of them. It’s important to live vicariously at times in order to learn and improve, to become a more understanding and honest person, and reading is one of the best ways I know how to do this. It’s something I definitely want to relay in my writing. Because, though life can be hard, the world is a wonderful place full of incredible people. We just have to work to remove some of the bullshit that sometimes prevents us from seeing this.

 

Works

I'm thrilled to have been included in the literary magazines Scrittura, Fiction PoolBandit Fiction, Litro, and Sarasvati (an Indigo Dreams imprint). I was shortlisted in the 2019 Mind short story competition, as well as having a different story picked for inclusion in the University of Exeter's annual publication, Q Journal, in the same year. I'm currently working on my first novel. The extract below is part of another novel I have written but am leaving on the back burner for now.

Short Stories

'The November Wobble'

This is a story about reminiscing and meditating on the past, on youthful, random fun. Told from the perspective of a woman in her thirties, it recounts a night after college with her then boyfriend which left a sparkle in her eye.

'The Bamboo Lookout'

An 800-word piece set in a rainforest village in South India detailing a potentially fatal cultural misunderstanding involving a rice farmer, a group of tourists on homestay, and a wild elephant.

'The Great Sales Race'

A young girl starting a new job at a large sports store chain witnesses some of the nonsensical pressures placed on store management, and the weird and wonderful ways managers resist these pressures.

'Glitter in the Cider'

A student's first music festival experience is a mixed bag. The rudimentary camping exhausts him and gigs make him feel self-conscious. But he learns to lose his inhibitions and it soon turns into a wholly exciting experience.

'The Happiest Person in the World'

Two estranged friends, hungover after a night out, sip coffee and talk about expectations and failures on reaching thirty. But the morning ends on a hopeful note when Jonny is rewarded for taking a chance.

Novel Extract

States, Saints, and Moon Searching

A university dropout quits his job to takes a solo trip around North America. Along the journey he visits places of world-renowned natural beauty, meets people who inspire him, and tries to ease an onslaught of depression.

Attached here are the first 5 chapters. The final piece is around 80,000 words.

A completely true travel-narrative.

 

Contact

For any enquires whatsoever, and if you would like further samples of the novel, don't hesitate to contact me via any means. I'd love to hear from you.

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'Turn Off the Mixer'

There's friction between workers on a freezing cold morning on an all-male building site, but one of them manages to break through and opens up, leading to a surprising outcome.