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Personalia - Monica Necic

Originally published 14 June 2002

Our Writer at Warwick this month is Monica Necic whose short story ‘Cicadas’ recently won first prize in a writing competition funded by the Lottery Commission (another story was highly commended in the same competition). Monica fits her writing in with working full-time as a secretary in the Finance Office and, as a sideline, moving houses! “We’ve moved three times in the last three years so I consider myself something of an expert – there’s a book in there somewhere if I can find the time.”

Her winning story was broadly based on the experiences of an old Serb friend who fought as a guerrilla in Yugoslavia during World War II. “He didn’t like to talk about it but would occasionally drop something utterly devastating into the conversation, and then clam up. I knew there was the germ of a story there – in fact, there’s probably a novel. I don’t think I strayed too far from the reality of his war for when I read the story to him, he was visibly moved.”

As far as writing is concerned, Monica’s favourite format is the short story. “Only because I come to a natural stop after 2000 words, which rather dictates what the finished product will be. I also feel that a short story should do just that – tell a story – with the writer as observer only. Unfortunately, there’s not much of a market for them nowadays, so if I want to write a blockbuster I’ll have to find creative ways of recycling those 2000 words ten times over.”

Monica was delighted to win the prize of £200 but what mattered more to her was the positive feedback it provided from the judge, writer Celia Rees. “As author, I naturally think my story is good but I’m also pleased that other people thought so too. I certainly won’t be giving up the day job though … well, not yet.”