Tamara Drewe, clerihew

click picture to read

Quick! While it’s still just a book!

I confess it: I’ve always loved Posy Simmonds. Here in Baroque Mansions we have a few of her books, going back years, and we used to read with great happiness the column in the Guardian where Tamara Drewe began (almost at the same moment as we moved into Baroque Mansions, as it happens). We used to read it even with bemusement: it was too quirky, too interesting, too witty a thing to be in the paper, surely? Too sophisticated? Based on Hardy – Far From the Madding Crowd, to be precise – it mashes up English literary tradition with Aga sagas, a schadenfruede-tinted view of writery gossip and cartooning – makes graphic novels a ladies’ game – and is both gentle and sharply incisive, with a dark streak, funny jokes, and naughty bits. You can still read the original columns, all 101 of them, online.

And now it’s going to be a movie! Frankly, we’re dubious. It opens on Friday and will be in a cinema near you, I’m sure.


But in the meantime, I’m going to set you a competition. The task is to write a clerihew on the name “Tamara Drewe” (which, as you see, very cleverly rhymes with “clerihew”) – or on some element of the story (which as above you can read for free online) or its relation to Thomas Hardy or the English countryside in literary tradition, or novels about writers. That’s not so hard, is it? I’m into clerihews at the moment, and I’m crudely using you, my readers, as a feed source.

Remember that with clerihews the keys are perfect rhyme, lack of metrical agreement, and not too much information. Here is a sample to get you going:

always wore a cardi.
Tamara Drewe’d
rather be nude.


Yes! We have a prize. I have been sent, by the very kind and generous Jonathan Cape, a signed copy of the book of Tamara Drewe, which I will send to the writer of the winning clerihew. It’s nice and big and full of Posy Simmonds drawings.

Clerihews in the comments box, please: I will nominate an impartial person, if I can find one, to choose the winner on Friday.

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