Last week, a BBC news article told the tale of a lost manuscript. It seems that Jeanette Winterson's latest (unpublished) novel, The Stone Gods, was found on a bench in a London Underground station.
At first I imagined Winterson herself leaving the manuscript behind. If you've been to one of her readings, you know that she's rather intense and also somewhat easily distracted. I can just see her scrawling on a page in disgust and throwing a sheaf of A4 paper down on a bench — only to then leave it behind in order to chase down some food or a passing blonde.
I'm kidding, Jeanette!
And anyway, it turns out Winterson was nowhere near the thing; the blame lies with someone who works for her publisher, Penguin. Wouldn't it be cool if an actual penguin were to blame? After all, those flightless fowl are notorious for failing to return borrowed books.
It gets better: The manuscript was rescued by a Tooting teacher.
At least it was found by an honest soul. If I'd happened upon the thing, I'm not sure I'd have been able to stop myself from penning a parody, to be published on the very same day as the novel. On second thought, Winterson would probably enjoy that.
I think she'd also enjoy this story, featured as a "related" link on the page that reports the lost manuscript: "Bizarre items left by commuters: A lawn mower, Rolex watches and a theatrical coffin are among the 150,000 items people have left on the Tube, buses and taxis this year."
Bats and bull sperm and skulls … there's your next mythical memoir, Ms. Winterson.