In 2008 I decided to take a chance and submit a short story to a writing competition, something I hadn’t done since I was about 8 years old. It was the National Words of Wordsof Colour competition and I came first with my short story about a little girl growing up in Nigeria in the late seventies. The story received first prize and it encouraged me to take my writing more seriously and go back to Uni for my MA in Creative writing and Imaginative Practice.

Presenting The Pink House republished by Brittle Paper-


My mother always used to say that we lived on the decent part of the street where the houses had larger yards and cars but smaller families. The other side was for those whose social standing meant that they had no choice but to pack themselves and sometimes their extended families into rented rooms in small squalid bungalows. Opposite us there was one of these unfortunate habitations; painted the exact colour of my favourite bubble gum.

Warm rosy pink, its window shutters and doors reminded me of an old woman’s mouth; an odd selection of different colours thrown together like odd shoes. My father was an architect and believed that the Town Planning people should pull it down and build a decent house. He said it was an eyesore; a boil on the face of humanity and an absolute monstrosity.

My father loved to confuse us with big confusing words.

My mother was a governor at my school, a teacher and lay preacher at the local Anglican Church. She believed that the house’s presence on the street was like the serpent in paradise, a cancerous legacy that lay dormant and if not dealt with might threaten all the decent families and ultimately the whole society.

“I don’t know why we stand for it. We complain and the police promise to deal with it—yet nothing is done.”

I was eight years old then and wondered why she felt so strongly about the house across the road, but I had long learnt that when children asked questions adults did not want to answer they got sent off to their studies. –

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The Pink House | by Ola Awonubi | An African Story