Anakana Schofield – Award Winning Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky

Is it true?

Woman approaches me at bus stop and apologizes. Pause. She explains she likes to read the titles of books people are holding. I show her Anita Rau-Badami’s novel: Can you hear the nightbird call?

‘Is that the one about the man running to be the US president?’

‘It’s based on the Air India bombing.’ I reply.

‘Is it true?’

‘It’s about the Air India tragedy.’ I repeat.

After more babble where she says she doesn’t like fiction but she likes Rohinton Mistry because it’s true I am forced to admit that this must be a near exact replica of a conversation I had a couple of weeks ago with a geologist.

-Do you know anything about arctic cone drilling, I ask him.


10 minutes later after my arm waving impressions he says ‘aha, arctic core drilling.’

When I ask how it all happens he says helicopters fly the gear in.

-damnit I have people in my kids novel turning up in a row boat to do it.

He’s silent, politely silent.

-would there be any circumstances where a person could turn up in the arctic to do core drilling in a row boat or any kind of boat for that matter?

-absolutely not.

-what if they are afraid of flying?

He shakes his head.

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