OCA PEOPLE: ALISA ALTA

OCA Magazine: Tell us about yourself and your activity / work

Alisa Alta: I started writing a book to recover from a hard day’s work. As a student, I worked as a salesgirl in a store. This was a real hell for an introvert like me! Writing was the best way to get in touch with my inner self, bringing me great pleasure as well. I realized that I wanted to make it my job, so now I create content for mobile apps and games. But my core passion is still literature. 

To date, I wrote a science fiction cycle of five stories called ‘A.S.Y.L.U.M’. Four initial characters transform into new personalities in different worlds. It brings a and psychology-based detective element into the narrative, as I as a reader have to guess who is who. Each story offers a new reality, whether it is the dystopian United States of Europe, sliding into a cultural abyss, or a mystical Saint-Petersburg with a touch of the absurd.

OCA: Have you taken part in the events of the Eurasian Creative Guild (London)?

AA: In 2018, I also finished a love novel ‘The Orchid’s Shame’. Just a month later, I was lucky to see an announcement for an internship at the Eurasian Creative Guild in Minsk. It was there that I learned about Open Eurasia Book Forum and Literature Festival. And dared to send my novel. Then, a little miracle happened: ‘The Orchid’s Shame’ hit the shortlist in the ‘Prose’ category! I was happy that an international jury appreciated my job, especially as it hadn’t been widely read yet. It’s one thing when a book is appraised by friends; another is valued by impartial professionals. Such an achievement definitely adds credibility in the eyes of readers and publishers. It also inspires confidence to move toward new accomplishments.

OCA:  Do you have any personal projects that you would like to talk about?

AA: This year, I have sent a story from the A.S.Y.L.U.M. cycle to the contest. It’s called ‘The children of Saturn’: the protagonist gets into a dystopian society that can be described as North Korea with matriarchy and fantastical elements. Its leader is a woman, so the cult of feminity and maternity dominates every aspect of that society. Like any dictator, she rules with fear: families are erased due to sins and even impure thoughts against the Great Mother as treated with severe punishment. Yet the system has no clear rules: each time people try to understand what may be considered a sin, inventing more and more philosophical teachings. But the purpose of the Great Mother is to remain unsolved and unpredicted so that the fear never ends. She destroys houses on a random basis, and the society falls under Stockholm syndrome. Faced with the necessity of implementing mild reforms and losing a part of power, she prefers to destroy cities with all of its inhabitants. A sinful ruler devours their subjects just like Saturn devours its children. I hope this year will bring me luck! 

OCA: What does the Eurasian Creative Guild mean to you, and how did it affect your creativity / activity? 

AA: Another important benefit of being in the guild for me was discovering a layer of Central Asian culture. ‘The Stans’ is a cultural terra incognita, where precious nuggets can be found. For example, I translated a wonderful story of the Uzbek author Isajon Sulton called ‘The Fish’, where an abusive father gets incarnated in a fish after death. And has to deal with his family. Not only the story is masterfully written, but it also contains a pearl of special wisdom. “If you throw a splinter at your father, years later your son could throw a stone at you”, says an Uzbek folk proverb as the epigraph, lime-lighting a complicated family story. In my opinion, a beautiful cartoon with a mystical halo can be made on its basis. 

And there is so much more: for example a children’s book ‘Elish and Wicker Tales’. Its main character is an autistic boy, which resonates with my idea of creating a cartoon series. There will be many families (remember ‘Game of Thrones?’), each with its own flaws. One kid is raised by a single mother, another lives with homosexual parents; some parents are narcissistic, others are overprotective. And yet they coexist in peace, coping with troubles. After all, cartoons tend to show us happy and complete families, healthy and flawless kids. And what about children who do not fit into the perfect picture? They must also have characters to relate to.