Birthdays should be all about whimsy and be defiantly egocentric. After all, it is one day – one day only – to celebrate your slippery entry into the world. So in the spirit of all things whimsical and willful, I like to imagine having a different life on every birthday, no matter how absurd or mercurial. For this one, I would like to be a mudlarker. Originally a job – considered one of the worst jobs – for the very poor….mudlarking is really all about scavenging in the chocolate mud that skirts the dimpled brown water of the Thames. For treasure of course but then treasure is a subjective term – there are many wonderful objects that the Thames regularly belches out onto the pebbled shores: fragments of pottery, clay pipes, horses’ teeth. You now have to have a licence and report all finds to a recognized museum but now, the Mudlarking Society has numerous enthusiasts who don wellies and gloves to lose themselves in the looking. What joy, for time to slip away and to find history to casually secreted…..
'Sometimes they would throw a sixpence into the river, where the water was about two feet deep, to make us wet ourselves through in groping for it. Indeed, they were very generous when they wished to be amused; and every kind of offer was made to them which we thought suited to their tastes, or likely to extract money from their pockets.'
"Dip my head in the mud for sixpence, sir!" one of us would cry out; and then he would be outbid by another."Roll myself all over and over in the mud, face and all, sir - only give me sixpence!"
Next year, a different incarnation.
- Julia Bohanna
- Shortlisted Bath Short Story Award 2013 Runner-up Cinnamon Press Competition 2013 WNNER: Don Louth Writer of the Year (run by Reading Writers) WINNER: Bradt/Independent on Sunday Travel Writing Competition 2012. SHORTLISTED: Scott Prize (Salt Publishing) 2012 for a short story collection. Writer/ Journalist - assistant editor and writer for the art and books pages of Wolfprint. Most recently published in Independent on Sunday and short story anthologies: Sentinel Champions No 9, 100 Stories for Queensland, 50 Stories for Pakistan, 100 Stories for Haiti and From Hell to Eternity. In a recent writing competition, Joanne Harris described my writing as '...compelling (but quite creepy)'
- ▼ 2009 (13)
Prizes and Writing Awards
- Winner Bradt/Independent on Sunday Travel Writing Competition 2012
- Shortlisted for Salt Publishing's Scott Prize for short story collections 2012
- Finalist in Brit Writers' Award 2011
- 2nd in Sentinel Literary Competition 2011
- Whitechapel Society Anthology to be published 2010
- Shortlisted for the Mslexia Short Story Competition 2009
- Shortlisted for The Asham Award 2009
- Joint winner of the Penguin/Decibel Prize 2008 - Asian Invisible. Published as The Map of Me
- Highly Commended in The National Galleries of Scotland Short Story Competition 2008
- Runner-up in Segora Short Story Prize 2008
- Joint Winner of The Lancet Short Story Competition 2007: The Resurrection Girl.
- Runner-up in Virgin Trains/The Guardian Short Story Competition 2007: A Small Revolution
- Winner of the Woman and Home Short Story Competition 2006: Ghosts of Jamaica.
- Shortlisted for The Asham Award 2005
- Runner-up in the Good Housekeeping Short Story Competition 2003
- Winner of The Sunday Telegraph Tourism for Tomorrow Travel Writing Competition 2002: Wolves of Rumania. Winner
- Winner and also Winner of Most Original Short Story in the Competition in Trowell and District Writers' Competition 2006