A short story by Hilary Mantel, which sees Margaret Thatcher assassinated by the IRA, has inspired a number of high profile authors to imagine other members of the Conservative party being murdered in a variety of increasingly gruesome ways.
Mantel’s fictional account of the former prime minster’s death – “The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher – August 6th 1983” – prompted outrage from a number of right wing MPs, who branded the tale “deeply offensive.”
Criticism was quick to come from members of the press, too, including the Daily Telegraph which, despite paying a substantial sum for exclusive print rights to the story, refused to publish it.
The backlash comes as no surprise to Mantel, who had been braced for a negative reaction. What has come as a surprise, though, is the amount of fan-fiction her story has already inspired, much of it from some of the UK’s best-loved authors.
Ex-Children’s Laureate, Michael Rosen, was the first to follow Mantel’s lead, with the publication of what has been described as “a harrowingly detailed account” of former Education Secretary, Michael Gove, being impaled on a spike. The four-thousand word story, entitled simply, “Michael Gove Gets Impaled on a Spike” was hand-written in thick, black pencil, before being scanned and uploaded to the author’s website earlier today.
Rebus creator, Ian Rankin, quickly followed suit, publishing a short but nonetheless deeply troubling tale of Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, being “stabbed and stabbed and stabbed” in the neck and face by a man in an expressionless white mask.
From there the floodgates opened, with authors as diverse as Neil Gaiman, Scarlett Thomas, and the Orange Prize shortlisted Charlotte Mendelson contributing their own fictional accounts of members of the Tory party dying horribly.
Inverness-born author, Ali Smith – whose novel How to Be Both has been shortlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize – took things one step further, with a story set at the 2015 Tory Party conference, in which each and every person in attendance is devoured by hungry wolves.
We tried to contact Martel for her comments, but she was at the shops.