‘Small Talk’ at Spread The Word

In May 2018, ‘Small Talk’ was highly commended in the Spread the Word Life Writing Prize by judges Erica Wagner, Hannah Lowe and Kwaku Osei-Afrifa. I was delighted to read an excerpt from the piece during the prize-giving at Goldsmiths University. It is a very generous award, and in addition to the £500 prize money, I won meetings with an agent and an editor, and six-month’s mentoring with the wonderful Miranda Doyle. Read ‘Small Talk’ in its entirety on the Spread the Word website.

What with the rain and you not here, I’ve found myself having imaginary to- and-fros about stuff long past. Usually I speak to people when I’m out with the dog – a hello, a wave – but I haven’t seen anyone for days. I’ve not even been to the shops, and have been living mainly off carrots and lentils. And butter beans, sometimes butter beans. My car sits in the drive and every day I look out and it’s still in the same spot, going nowhere.

So today I sorted out a few things with people in my head. One conversation lasted thirty minutes, which was the time it took to make lentil soup and wash the blender. There were moments when we got quite heated, she and I, and I suppose then I must have been talking out loud because the dog woke up and stared at me. But it was good, good to sort stuff out with people I hadn’t seen for years […]