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Welcome to The Literary Pig's blog - a safe haven for all those afflicted with
the unbearable urge to write.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

A trick I learned from dead men by Kitty Aldridge

I confess I did slip away from the tennis this afternoon to listen to Open Book on Radio 4 (sorry Andy, but you were doing OK at that point!). Kitty Aldridge was talking about her new novel 'A trick I learned from dead men' with Mariella Frostrup. But hang on, I thought as I listened to the excerpts read out: I've heard these words before. Yet I haven't read the book (unsurprising since it only came out last week). The story and characters seemed so familiar... And then it came to me. Kitty's short story 'Arrivederci Les' won the 2011 Bridport Prize and was published in the 2011 anthology. We always buy the Bridport anthology (the indoor writer is determined to get shortlisted one year & reads previous winners for research purposes...) and yes, the short story is quite clearly the baseline for the novel. Which is a great advocate for all short story writers in that it is possible to transform a short story into a longer piece of fiction. What was surprising was the interview made no reference to the success of the original short story and how it grew into a novel. An opportunity missed? Or does the novel follow the same narrative arc as the short story? Well, to echo Harry Hill, there's only way to find out. Now I'm going to have read Kitty Aldridge's novel in full, but if the book is as delightful and intelligent as her short story then I'm in for a treat.

If anyone reads 'A trick I learned from dead men' the please share your thoughts on the book.


  1. That's really interesting as I turned a short story into a novella just this year!

  2. You are in good company Rosemary! Can you tell us more? Is the novella published or to be published?