The first story for 2014 was on the theme of ‘Revenge’. Death at the Red Rose was about a dark and stormy night, and came third in the voting..
February’s theme was ‘Femi Akinde – Out of Africa’, but as I found at least five people called Femi Akinde by Googling I named my character Adamu Akinde. If you’re out there, Adamu, I hope you don’t take offence. At least I made you a highly educated professional man with lots of money and a pretty girlfriend.
Out of Africa..
The March theme of ‘Change’ suggested ‘The Transaction’, the (nearly) true story of a transgendered person, the remarkable Chevalière d’Eon. In April my OU final assignment, a radio drama, took over, but for May, on the theme of public transport I submitted ‘The Duddingham Line’, the germ of a much longer story to be written one day about railway closures and the people who opposed them.
June’s short fiction submission was based on an OU exercise: write a short story using a shopping list as the writing prompt.
For July, the theme was ‘Holidays’, and I wrote a story inspired by the Normandy beaches that was a reflection on remembrance and how we form our attitudes and memories: The Memories of Sand. It came second in the voting.The August competition called for a dramatised entry: Orange Trees was a radio drama adaptation of a novel I once started and abandoned, set mainly during the Algerian War of Independence.
In September, the theme was ‘Weddings’ and a trip to East Anglia provided a backdrop for a country wedding, complete with pig fields and a stately home, in ‘Something Old’. Some chat on the TCWG site provided me with a disastrous ending for one of my characters (thank you Bilby!). I was delighted that my story came second.
For October the theme was ‘Life Change’. I had a story about Voltaire knocking around in my computer for a while and had just visited a good friend in the Hague. As we were walking around the older parts of the city I started to think about Voltaire, who met his first love in the Hague, about 300 years ago. His late teens and early twenties make a tremendous coming-of-age story. I hope I’ve done justice to it in ‘The Best of All Possible Worlds’. Kudos to Theodore Besterman for his multi-volume edition of ‘The Complete Works of Voltaire (University of Toronto Press, 1968); I didn’t have to make much up. I used volume 85 – Correspondence 1704-1729, and buy additional volumes from Zubal Books, whenever I can afford them.
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