My first short story success was courtesy of Barclays Bank.
I was busy not studying for my ‘A’ levels when I entered the bank’s writing competition for students.
The competition theme was ‘an interview with the bank manager’ so I wrote a story about a couple asking for a loan.
I’d recently read D.H. Lawrence’s novel Sons and Lovers so the story was decidedly derivative.
I remember writing about the woman’s bare arms as she held their baby.
My story won me some book tokens. I don’t think the couple got their loan.
Several decades passed before I sent out another short story. ‘Each Other’s Keeping’ is a cautionary tale about marriage. I submitted it as part of an application for the UK’s first BA degree in creative writing at the then University of Luton.
Professor Ramey “felt the surreal wit and experimentation of the story showed particular promise” and offered me a place on the course. I didn’t take it up and went to work for the BBC as an online journalist.