Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Mum in profile: Turning nap time into a new career

One Melbourne Mum used her children's nap time to produce a winning short story. Interview: Clare Kennedy.

A tale of murder and mayhem set at a kindergarten – written by a Melbourne Mum, with a vivid imagination - has taken out the HarperCollins first prize in the Sisters of Crime 14th Scarlet Stiletto Awards.

The story 'Kill-dead-garten,' written by Kew mother-of-two Aoife Clifford (pictured above left), was the result of a New Year’s Eve resolution to enter a short story competition.

Motivated by concern that she was forgetting how to spell, Clifford was “gobsmacked” when her first short story since secondary school won first prize.

The national short story competition, which offers $3100 in prizes, attracted over 163 entries.

Clifford, who trained as a lawyer and worked as a union official with the National Union of Workers, wrote the story during her children’s nap-times.

Though she hadn’t written anything except emails since she left work to raise a family, the words came easily. “I’d thought about it for eight months,” she says, “and wanted to write about something that I know well.”

The story’s kindergarten setting, with its familiar backdrop of poster paint and play dough, was a natural choice.

“I don’t know anything about murder, but I have been on the kinder committee this last year and it’s taken up a lot of time,” she laughs.

Clifford received $750 and a trophy for her efforts: a scarlet stiletto shoe with a steel heel plunging into a perspex mount.

Clifford is one writer to watch. Previous winners include crime-writer Tara Moss and short story specialist Cate Kennedy.

For information about the 15th Scarlet Stiletto in 2008 Awards go to http://home.vicnet.net.au/~sincoz/

No comments: