The Word

The Word

Ernest Hemingway

The American novelist Ernest Hemingway was renowned for his verbal economy, short words and short sentences.

He was once, allegedly challenged to write a story in just six words and this is what he came up with; for sale baby shoes never worn.

An online publication, Smith Magazine recently asked its readers, not for six word fictions, but for people's six word autobiographies.

A selection has now been published in a book called "Not Quite What I Was Planning".

The BBC World Service's weekly writing and literature programme, The Word, decided to issue the same challenge to its listeners and was inundated with entries.

Here are just a few of the many responses that came into the programme;

  • Reporting death destruction suffering and survival, by Abdurrahman Warsameh, Somalia
  • Future billionare to be interviewed on BBC, by Danielle Nelson, Kingston, Jamaica
  • Keeping my knowledge in the stars, by Francisco de-Medeiros, Cotonou, Benin
  • No partner, no pleasure no pain, by Peter Pliesovsky, Prague
  • Caught in hell can't wait heaven, by Pascal, Nairobi, Kenya
  • The solution to my problems suicide, by Tandong Michael Yde
  • At sea ashore anchored at Antwerp, by Captain Robert Thake, Antwerp, Belgium
  • Stormy past steady changes coming out,by Akintayo Ogunsanya, Lagos, Nigeria
  • From an influential but selfish family, by Ishmael Bash-Kamara, Sierra Leone
  • Early successes decades unemployed writing fiction, by Matthew Mweu, Kangundo, Kenya
  • Blind lawyer knowing loss finds justice, by John Eagen, USA
  • Still meet kind strangers thank god, by Bharat Khiani, Maharashtra, India
  • Since eighty-five I'm lost in space, Meshach Williams in Liberia
  • Now or forever still stuck help, by S L Ting, East Timor
  • Woman so sad reason husband polygamous, by Binta, Sierra Leone
  • Hard as I try can't resist cheating, by Paul Chandler, Brighton, England
  • A loved child a blessed man, by Henry Colefield Jr, Kingston, Jamaica
  • Born carnivorous atheist became herbivorous agnostic, by P.P. (aka strippy), Prague, CZ
  • Born blind radio eyes see world, by Robert Flood, Texas, USA
  • Squandered more chances than others get, by Hans Westin, Leeuwarden, the Netherlands
  • Alone love it and hate it, by Joe Goss, Boston, USA
  • Sad childhood an optimist for life, by Ann Mallinson, New Zealand
  • I should have but I didn't, by Dan Pendick, Milwaukee, USA
  • Gave my all for my mother, by Olivene Thomas
  • Drinking nearly killed me should have, by K Doolan, Chicago, USA
  • Home becomes hell when papa drinks, by Karo Umukoro, Nigeria
  • Schizophrenia 21 happily mad 44 drugs, by Graham Binns, Bradford, UK
  • I never killed but shot before, by Perry Kafui, Accra, Ghana