Somewhere over the Rainbow, a funny and uplifting story of life under Covid restrictions by new writer Marie Bradley is the winner of the Radius Writers competition.
The competition, which was launched by the housing association on World Book Day, called on aspirating writers to submit their short story on the theme of Neighbours and Community.
Marie’s story, of a character called Connie, who learned to cope with lockdown life with her ‘yappy little dog’, was the unanimous choice of the judges, who saw the tale of communities coming together a something that everyone could relate to. Marie, who is a Scheme Co-ordinator at Radius’ Neillsbrook Fold in Randalstown, weaved the titles of many of her favourite songs into the story, from ‘Working 9 to 5’ to ‘I just called to say I loved you’, as well as the title of the story, ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow.’
The short story competition follows the Radius and Commedia of Errors World Book Day theatrical readings of Little Red Riding Hood, Harry Potter and Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights. The Radius Housing World Book day events are funded through the Department for Communities ‘Housing for All’ Shared Housing Programme which has its origins in the NI Executive T:buc strategy.
Speaking as Marie was award her prize, Loma Wilson, Director of Communities with Radius Housing said “It’s often said that everyone has at least one good book in them, and we hope that kids, teenagers and adults have at least one good short story to tell us for the Radius Writers competition, and Marie’s story shows just how true that is. In the last year we have all become much more familiar with our local community and our neighbours, and seen the great effort so many will go to help each other out, and Marie’s wonderful story captured that so well.”
Marie added “When I sat down to write the story I was thinking of the strange experience the last year has been for us all, the changes and sacrifices we have all had to make. I also was hearing so many of the songs I like to listen to every day, that have great messages about hope and happiness, and I thought I’d include them. While we’ve all struggled in our own way, when you look at how it has helped to bring families and communities together, you have to see that the good times ahead on the other side of the rainbow. I really hope my little story can make some people smile.”