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Susana Medina (pictured below) kindly asked me to read a story on Monday at The House of Fairy Tales which is part of Tate Modern’s Long Weekend. The House of Fairy Tales is a festival for children of all ages curated by Deborah Curtis and Gavin Turk. There will be readings courtesy of Tlon Books, Isabel Del Rio, Salena Godden, Melissa Mann, Susana Medina, Jason Shelley, Clare Stanhope, Jan Woolf and others. As I won’t be able to make it, my story — a bowdlerised version of “Enough Ribena to Incarnadine the Multitudinous Seas” — will be read by somebody else.


Here’s the child-friendly version of my story:

Enough Ribena to Incarnadine the Multitudionous Seas

Once upon a time my sister baked a batallion of gingerbread men who seemed destined for doughy, doughty deeds so gallant were they. I simply couldn’t bring myself to eat them; had neither the heart nor the stomach to do so. A moratorium was declared by sisterly decree and the spice boys remained in battle formation on the kitchen table pending mum’s final verdict. You could smell the sensuous, exotic aroma from my bedroom, even behind closed door.

That night, I had this vivid dream in which the naughty gingerbread men rose from the baking tray Galatea-fashion. Still under the influence of the self-raising flour, they legged it upstairs to bother the Play-Doh model of the Girl Next Door I had lovingly sculpted and kept secretly beside my comics and sensible shoes.

Breakfast, the morning after, was a truly religious experience. I binged ravenously on the horrid homunculi, tearing away at their limbs, biting off their heads with sheer abandon, and washing them down with enough glasses of Ribena to incarnadine the multitudinous seas.