Each week, we pick a short fiction piece from our Fairlight Shorts archives to feature as our story of the week. This week, we’ve chosen a story about hope by Amy Lilwall.

Amy Lilwall was born and raised in the South East of England. She spent a few years in France and Cornwall, then moved to Lincoln where she teaches Creative Writing.

Amy started writing seriously when she studied for her MA in Creative Writing at the University of Kent. She went on to do a PhD and was lucky enough to have her thesis novel published by Point Blank in 2017.  Amy has written for various journals and is a regular contributor to award winning podcast On The Hill.

‘Jensen’ follows a man whose childhood obsession with giraffes takes him in a strange direction.



There was giraffe snot on my hand and I must have been smiling because Mum was smiling back at me with my shaped grin. Not hers.

Two years before that, I handed Mum a picture of a reindeer that I’d drawn and stood back to await approval. She said it was an excellent giraffe. I pretended that it was, indeed, an excellent giraffe, then went back to my room to draw another reindeer, this time with a red nose so she would get it. Rudolph the Red Nosed Giraffe, she said when I presented it to her ten minutes later. It’s not a giraffe, I confessed, it’s a reindeer. She turned the piece of paper at an angle. Oh, she said, it’s a bit necky.

You know, said my reading partner at school the next day, you mustn’t think that you’re rubbish at drawing reindeer, but excellent at drawing giraffes. I told Mum about this. Yes, she said, there’s no denying that you are a brilliant giraffe drawer.

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