Back to Belfast: A Novel

Alexii with Michael the night they met at a Graffiti party through the Kickboxing Society (Edinburgh, 2012).

While at UNC, Alexii identified as one of the last millennials lucky enough to “pay her way through college” as her guest appearances as a nanny, barista, waitress, and administrative assistant helped her make it to graduation. With a lifelong desire to travel, she specifically saved her money junior year to take part in a 10 month exchange abroad. During her semester at the University of Edinburgh in 2012, she met several special people including her friend (and eventually he’d call her “other half”) Michael Craig. Remaining friends for the following years, Alexii was shocked to hear of Michael’s inoperable brain tumour when she called him to wish him a Merry Christmas in 2014. Coping with his loss in February 2015, one of her best friends, Rena, sent her a copy of PS I LOVE YOU by Cecilia Ahern. Rena said the story reminded her of Alexii and Michael. As she turned the pages, Alexii found what she took to be a “sign” on page thirty. This sign eventually led her to meet Michael’s mum, Joyce, in 2017 when Alexii was at a crossroads in her life and specifically in her marriage. While arranging a trip to visit other friends in Europe after her graduation from Columbia, she reached out to Joyce who (surprisingly) didn’t think she was crazy and invited her into her home in Belfast. A long conversation over Pimms left Alexii with news that inexplicably changed her life. 

BACK TO BELFAST is Alexii’s current 65K word novel based on this true story. A story that follows Christina Reale around the world as she navigates her early twenties primarily at the University of Edinburgh. While on her exchange, she meets Aidan, a goofy, Irish athlete with plans to move to Australia after graduation. However, leaving for Scotland also meant leaving her best friend Drew, back at home in her college town. A plot that may first seem like a love story choosing between two men actually leads Christina to learn the hard way that each person is in charge of fulfilling her own story.  In Belfast, she must meet the woman she has become as she is led to a life-changing moment that makes her question it all.  

Alexii is currently seeking representation for this novel.

Essays surrounding the true story are also available for submission for columns surrounding Modern Love, Travel, and Grief. A clip from her storytelling performance (inspired by The Moth) of this narrative is below:

Lardis: Storytelling Clip from alexii lardis on Vimeo.

Alexii in Belfast, 2020

Alexii and Joyce (Belfast, February 2020)