My novella Dicky Star and the Garden Rule was commissioned alongside Atomgrad (Nature Abhors a Vacuum), a series of works by the artists Jane and Louise Wilson, to reflect upon the anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. The novella was beautifully published by Forma as a zine-style paperback in April 2012.
Here is the blurb:
Dicky Star and the Garden Rule follows young couple Laura Morris and her boyfriend Jeremy through the turbulent days at the end of April 1986 when the world’s worst nuclear accident occurred at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic of the former Soviet Union.
Jeremy and Laura’s story is told in vivid daily chapters that follow the unfolding disaster’s impact in the UK, but are also determined by their own quixotic puzzle: each chapter must be told using all of the answers to the Guardian Quick Crossword from that day in 1986.
There is more background to Dicky Star… here, here and here, and a great non-review by Phil Kirby on the Leeds-based Culture Vultures website.
Dicky Star… was launched with an event at the Free Word Centre, London, on the twenty-sixth anniversary of the disaster: 26 April 2012.
Here is a short video of my reading of the chapter that was written using the solutions to Guardian Quick Crossword No. 5,008 (above), from Friday 2 May 1986; day 7 of the disaster.