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Pen Factor Special – winner Jill Dobson

The ice-cubes tinkled in her glass as she took another sip.

‘What are you drinking?’

‘Gin and tonic. I’m not going to sit here alone all evening with a cup of tea.’

‘Don’t have too many. You know I don’t like smelling it on you.’

The elder Mrs McMillan had the distinctive odour of equal parts liquor and Shalimar. All her meals were cooked by a housekeeper, of similar vintage, and served in the sunless dining room of her modern red-brick flat in Point Piper. The windows were never opened, and the cave-like rooms smelt of cigarettes and furniture polish. Like an officers’ club inhabited by one old woman. Edie bit her tongue.”

Extract from ‘The Woman in the House Next Door’ – included in the showcase

“The sense of validation was overwhelming. Writing for so long in isolation, with only silence or rejection as feedback, it’s all too easy to assume that your work is worthless. With the support of the TLC team, I’m hoping that the ‘Petrova novel’ will find its way to readers at last.” From the Introduction
This Pen Factor Special also features extracts from finalists: Kerry James Clarke, Moyette Gibbons, Jessica Harneyford and Faiza Hassan.