In the autumn of 1984 I was broke and in between things when I drafted a couple of entries for an essay competition sponsored by the Sunday Times in Perth, Western Australia.
The entries were to be typed or ‘neatly handwritten’. My submissions were in longhand!
Shortly later I moved on and became distracted by other things. Months later I ran into my old neighbour, who had some dead mail she’d saved for me. In the slim package of envelopes was a letter from the Sunday Times, telling me I had won the competition, with a cheque enclosed.
My winning entry was a comment on the set topic of George Orwell’s inevitably tempting dystopian vision for 1984. I don’t even have a copy of the essay anymore, but I dimly remember that I was as disturbed by the intrusion of Stalinist themes into Western social and political discourses as I remain to this day. In other words, it’s likely to have been an impassioned rant.