I have kept back six copies of The World's Wife by Carol Ann Duffy, Poet Laureate, in this lovely special edition and each with it's own unique number which you can enter, Bookcrossing style, on the World Book Night website if you so choose. Thus the book's journey can be tracked and I will happily send these worldwide, though the far flung ones may have to go surface mail, but that's all to the good, something to look forward to in April. But read on because you have work to do in order to enter.
If you'd like to be in with a chance of winning a gift of poetry to treasure that I hope will make you laugh, reflect and wonder, then here's the deal, please do leave your name in comments but I've added a little degree of difficulty...
Imagine if you would for a moment that the Poet Laureate has asked for our help (!) and wants ideas for The World's Wife Volume Two... and to be honest who else should she sensibly turn to but us.
So can you suggest some more wives?
Who else would you like to see in receipt of the Carol Ann Duffy treatment?
Of which man in history would you most like to hear the point of view of the more silent woman alongside and why?
Me, I'd quite like to know what Mrs Nelson really thought of Admiral Horatio when he bunked off with Emma Hamilton... and what poor Fanny made of the black lace Horatio and Emma chose as a placatory gift for her after their very public romantic sojourn in Naples. Estranged and then shunned by the lovestruck Horatio, yet still devoted to him, I wonder if it might all have been bitter and barbed... she'd gone through all that losing the arm stuff with him after all and that's the thanks she gets, or else terribly sad as Fanny realised her place had been usurped by the beautiful and beguiling Emma. Goodness me, how emotional and, having just read back over the posts I wrote in 2006 after reading Kate Williams's brilliant book England's Mistress, I'm almost thinking I'll have a stab at writing the poem myself if Carol Ann doesn't fancy it.
So over to you, name those wives and why.
You have a little time to think about it too, we'll do a completely subjective choosing of the six winners (based on the ones that delight us the most) tomorrow night when recovered from this evening's Vocal Harem choir concert and the giving of my World Book Night books.
I've had far too much excitement for one week, please don't expect high calibre content for Team Tolstoy this coming Wednesday will you.... just be ready to bail me out with your thoughts in comments.