Twice The Speed Of Dark

By Lulu Allison

What does it mean to care about the deaths of distant strangers? What does it take to bear the loss of a child?

Friday, 29 September 2017


My first library experience was the library van that came once a week to the village where I grew up. I loved it. Both the access to books, the neat little van, and the small bustle of village life. Once I got in enormous trouble for throwing Jeanie's coat onto the roof just before the van drove off. In my defence, on the walk from primary school down to Alma Green where the van parked, she had thrown my coat over a hedge into an orchard field that was full of skittish and bolshy bullocks. 

When I lived in Amsterdam, a time that felt strangely solitary, I would walk from where I lived near Dam square, buy a cinnamon bun and go to a library on one of the central canals, for the homesick comfort of reading an English newspaper. They had a good selection of fiction in translation too. 

The big library in Munich loomed on the skyline above the Isar. A good old walk up the hill. It was tall and dark and calm inside. Not cosy but a fantastic space. And a pretty good selection of books in translation too.

One of my favourite things about doing a fine art MA was the library opposite St Peter's church open only to students. Floors of art books. It was the cause of my involvement with wheelie trolleys. 

Book lovers love libraries. And most book lovers wish that all could share their love.

Borrowed is the title of a short story anthology, currently funding here on Unbound:

I have a story in the anthology. It is a great collection of writers, and all have agreed that any future author royalties will be donated to the World Literacy Foundation. 

One of the other authors, Paul Holbrook has made some lovely images for the anthology. Take a look - there is an intriguing cast of characters and a wide range of responses to the theme, which is stories based in one library. I am really glad to be included with such a great group of writers, and hopefully, if funding goes well, supporting other people to get the wonderful benefits of literacy.

(On that note, I noticed with growing suspicion that this page wasn't littered with the usual array of mystifying red dots. Yay! I thought, I've spelled everything right! But luckily I double checked by exporting... there they all were. Literacy is great, but some parts of it are greater than others....)



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