Aleksandra | My first novel, in progress since July 2011


As a graduate of Modern History with a first class degree, I have clearly achieved some degree of aptitude for writing fairly intelligently on rather dull subjects. Thus, as a means of exercising my (albeit limited) creative potential, I have undertaken a number of attempts at creative writing.

These include short stories, my first attempt at a book, and a number of poems. I have listed an extract from the book I am currently in the middle of writing, “Aleksandra”.

The novel tells the story of a fictional 10-year-old Polish girl called Aleksandra, a resident of Gdańsk during the tumult of the 1980 strikes at the Lenin Shipyard.

Below is an extract from Aleksandra’s diary entry on Monday, 7 July, 1980:

I had to find out. I asked mummy if I could go to the shop. She said yes, as long as I wasn’t long. I walked out the door, and down the street. The man was there, coughing and shaking, he looked like he hadn’t been to bed. He looked cold and ill. I went up to him, but he didn’t look up. “Aleksandra”, I said. “I spoke to you before. You said Communism was bad, but my daddy says the government are good to us. Why did you say this? Why are you lying?”

He raised his head slowly, giving me a look that would live with me forever. He seemed really sad, and couldn’t stop coughing. A bottle was lying next to him. It wasn’t quite empty, I didn’t know what had been inside it. He laughed, as he had done before, and said: “Daddy has a good job doesn’t he?” I answered: “Yes. He works at the big shipyard. He’s a very important person there.” He smiled a little bit, and laughed again. “He has a good job, I don’t have anything. Look at those people over there, do they look happy?”


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