40 and Fiction

I turned 40 yesterday – and it turns out, 40 is a ridiculously good thing to be.

It started with an email the day before my birthday. The subject said ‘Fiction Commission’ and was from an editor in New Zealand who’d read my fiction online, and wanted to commission a story for her journal. I sent her a story called ‘Dugdugee’ which I’d whittled and tweaked for over a year, and within hours it was signed off, sold, and slotted for publication in September. 

THEN, I get another email from the lovely editor of Berfrois, a magazine I absolutely love, saying that they’d be publishing my story ‘Driving North’. The story was published yesterday. On my birthday! (I told you it was ridiculous.

AND finally, I got to wake up in Copenhagen with D and Chotto-Ma and a hundred sweet messages and phonecalls from all over.

And I thought, damn. I should’ve turned forty years ago.

PS. Here’s my desk today. A strip of green called Sonder Boulevard in the Vestebro area of Copenhagen. This city is so my kind of place! Next to me, D and Raya are on their fourth game of chess. 

And here’s ‘Driving North’ on Berfrois. This story surprised me with it’s journey – it was longlisted for the Bath Short Story Award and shortlisted for the Brighton Prize last year. It was subsequently published in Rattle Tales 4, a print anthology. And now, in this great new home.

Of course, you have to be nice and read it because it’s my birthday. Let me know what you think!


20 thoughts on “40 and Fiction

  1. Happy 40th, P! You inspire. With your writing, your stories, your ability to dole out calm, measured words that some how say so much.

    I hope the year ahead is nothing short of fantastic, and sees your writing going places!

  2. Happy belated 40th, Pia! What a fantastic birthday it turned out to be. Loved reading your story too, many congratulations on its journey!

  3. The best stories are the kind that transport you into their world, let you travel with them and leave you wanting for more when they've ended..And all of your writing so far is like that! Can I put in a preorder on that novel :)?

    And happy 40 again!

  4. Thanks, Anandita! Blogger often eats up messages – sorry about that. And congrats on your Huff Post article! Reminded me of the pile of sarees I have and never wear. Must change that.

  5. So touched, Lakshmi! Thank you so much – for reading, but most importantly for taking the care to let me know what you think. It really does make all the difference to my writing. Big hug for that!

  6. Shubho jonmodin, P. It only gets better now. Really liked 'Driving north'! You escalated the tension with a deft touch. I felt it was coming at the start of the journey: how did you do that bit of foreshadowing, I wonder? It was very subtle. Was it their smugness at the fruition of this long-planned journey or the digs at the aspirational Indians and the jaded Brits (hinting at simmering discord under the surface)? I've read it twice now to try and spot how you sowed unease from the start. That I can't find any obvious ways is delightful! Keep on keeping on, lady. 🙂

  7. What a great way to celebrate, and more than deserved. I just read the story on Befrois and loved it, as I always do with your ever growing collection!

    Looking forward to reading many more of them in this new year and decade of your life!

    Late auguri from Tuscany, but with plenty of sunshine!

  8. Thanks a whole lot, Chandreyee! So happy you liked the story, tension and all. This was one of those that came out very quickly and painlessly, though the elements had been brewing in my head for a while: car, conversation, claustrophobia.
    Thanks for the birthday wish too – I'm quite looking forward to this decade 🙂

  9. Thanks, Emma! I'd forgotten you lived in Copenhagen (were you right in the city, or the outskirts?) We absolutely loved it – enough to consider moving 🙂 xx

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