All in the Same Boat – Why I Wrote a Fairy Tale

Harper-Collins ran a competition on it’s now closed website,, called Act on CO2. The task was to write a short story or fairytale to help educate people about climate change and encouraging them to take responsibility and to make changes in their lives that reduce their carbon footprint. It felt right that I should attempt a fable/fairy tale, especially as as friend of mine was writing one (on a different subject) and as I’d received a copy of Grimm’s fairy tales for Christmas. The language, imagery, blood-thirstiness and general insanity of the stories appealed. So I set out with a tale of Rat, Mouse and Gerbil adrift in a lifeboat in which Rat’s greed, arrogance, violence and thoughtlessness causes disaster. It was great fun to write an allegory and I hoped the tale would appeal to adults and children and, most especially, the judges. I read it out at Writers in the Brewery and the response was promising. was a website run by Harper-Collins for writers to load their books (partial or complete) and comment on the work of others, with a slim chance of the book being reviewed by Harper-Collins editors. The website has now been closed.Writers in the Brewery was a monthly meeting at the Brewery Arts Centre in Cirencester where, in addition to there being a guest speaker, local writers have the chance to read their work. It was replaced by Writers in the Goods Shed in Tetbury. An earlier version of this was on at, the original home of Wilkie’s blog, and was posted in 2010!