A great week last week, where one of my short stories, The Middle Room, was commended as part of Derby Museum’s 1001 objects writing competition.
It was great to hear the winning entries, and get another chance to look around the exhibit again (with added tea and cake – felt a bit weird, but the mugs were nice so I went with it).
The items are arranged in collections of what they’re made of, rather than their historical or social setting which means you get an interesting mix of momentous and everyday items rubbing shoulders with one another.
The contest was to write 1001 words based on one of the items – choosing from this amount of inspirational material was not easy (I’d started writing something about the bottles for Derby businesses in my head before I got halfway around the exhibit), but after a long time of looking back at my snapshots, this was the item that stuck.
It’s a Congolese antelope horn, highly valued, and given as a gift. I wondered about who would normally get such a stunning thing, and who would be least likely to receive it, to get it almost by accident. About two hours later, The Middle Room was there on the page.
I’m really pleased I took up the challenge, and I’m really pleased Derby Museums has taken such an interesting approach to showing us the things we collect in the ongoing story of who we are.