Masters tales · PhD · Short Stories

Oh errrr… I been Longlisted

So, a while back I entered the New Welsh Writers Competition with a story I thought was a long shot. It was set in the past and I was submitting it for a dystopian award. But it really is a dystopian story, and horrifically true.
In 1800 a sailor, James Norris, was placed in Bethlem Hospital, under a court order, after attacking several people whilst in a rage. Having been placed in Bedlam he raged against the conditions and almost killed one of the keepers. Dr Munro and the apothecary, Haslam, gave him the diagnosis of being incurable. Norris’s ability to escape meant Haslam created a restraint for Norris, who was kept in a cage. The dystopia that he lived in is all the more horrifying because it existed. In 1814 a philanthropist, Edward Wakefield, visited Bedlam and found Norris chained to a pole, a mere shadow of the sailor he’d been. What shocked Edward most was the fact that Norris could hold a conversation. Norris became the poster boy for asylum reform and slowly the law and social expectations changed. For Norris, his conditions got better, he was given a low security cell and the ability to move around. But for him this small freedom only lasted three months and ended in tragedy.

So, with six others I have hit the longlist and I’m shocked, pleased, excited, petrified, over-the-moon and scared. I’ll keep you posted on the next set of updates. Gulp…

4 thoughts on “Oh errrr… I been Longlisted

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