It's funny, the way one particular story will just take off and run and run - sometimes without your quite knowing about it, rather like your children getting up to adventures behind your back. A few weeks ago I was doing a vanity Google search and came across the online AQA GCSE anthology in which 'Compass and Torch', one of the stories in Balancing, appears: as I said at the time, I did actually know about this vaguely, ie permissions had been asked etc, but it's a brand-new project and I wasn't too clear about what was entailed. Well, last night - in a rare moment of internet clarity in these here hills - I did another Google search. Vain, moi? Paranoid, moi? Well, no; OK, maybe; but I'm learning that it's one way of finding out what's happening with your work that you just didn't know about. I came across this book, Happy Families?, a Cambridge University Press anthology for school students, in which 'Compass and Torch' also appears. Again, I did know about it - again, permissions had been asked for - but we'd been given no idea of the publication date, which turns out to have been October 2008! So there I was, more or less forgetting about it, and when I did remember wondering when it would happen, and it's been out there all along for nearly a year!
It sounds like a good book - the kind I'd have loved to use when I was teaching school kids. 'Compass and Torch' belongs to the question mark bit of the title, and is in the section titled 'Change and Uncertainty' along with pieces by Jackie Kay, Nadine Gordimer, Lee Hall, Katherine Mansfield and others. And I am not in the least surprised that the section 'Celebration and Security' includes a story by my cheerful friend Adele Geras!