Annabel and the Supermarket Dupermarket


year: 2015

About the Book

In early 2015, I finished the first draft of a magic-realist novel for middle grade kids, and a satire on consumerism for their elder siblings and parents. It was a long time coming out - I started it in 2008. Let’s hope the sequel comes a bit easier.


Annabel wakes up from a strange nightmare in a cold sweat. Today is the day she has to write the best story of her life for the school competition. The fate of her whole family depends on it - her half-crazed father, trying to save his job with a cloud dispersal chemistry lab in the basement; Granny, who is slowly retreating into herself; and Matsa the cat, who is sick of turning purple.

Annabel looks out of the window to find inspiration, but today, as every day, it is raining in their town, the rainiest in England. And so begins a search for ideas that takes Annabel into a world where words and letters are invented, grown and occasionally faked for the mass market.

Guided by her friend Archie Parch, manager at the Supermarket Dupermarket, Annabel discovers that words are not at all what she thought they were - they are alive. In the greenhouse she sees how they are grown; in the postal room, how they are sorted by Rohan Stamp, Chief Sorter, and delivered to toddlers by bats with one wing; in a store cupboard, creepily, how dead bodies are stripped of their words at the dead of night. What is a good word, and what is a bad one, and how can a writer - or any of us for that matter - tell the difference? What should Annabel make of Rhemus Loggins, the old hunchback who collects words that nobody wants any more, or DG Bankly, the mysterious boss, perpetually shrouded in a cloud of buzzing flies? Is it true that a word is called a ‘word’ because it is half worm and half bird, trapped in a cycle of life and decay like every other living thing? Has the word ‘inspiration’ really become illegal? And if even only some of this is true, whose words can she really trust?

Join Annabel on a journey into the heart of language and self-discovery, and find out why putting ‘friend’ and ‘ship’ together doesn’t result in a ‘friendship’ that’s anyone would knowingly want to have.