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Ceremony of Innocence

Author(s): Madeleine Bunting

Location(s): Iran, Bahrain, England

Genre(s): Fiction

Era(s): Late 1960s onwards

A Cambridge PhD student called Reem has gone missing in Egypt. Those close to her fear that her investigation into her family’s history in the Gulf has put her in danger. The trail leads back to Tehran in 1969, when diplomat Martin Wilcox Smith, frustrated by his career at the Foreign Office, looked for more lucrative opportunities in the region.

Decades later, decisions taken by Martin and his charismatic wife Phoebe unexpectedly come home to roost: their niece takes in a Bahraini lodger who has reasons to question the immense wealth of the Wilcox Smiths, a quest shared with their daughter-in-law, a journalist who is determined to piece together what has happened to Reem.

An evocative and engrossing story that travels between the Shah’s Iran, modern Bahrain, London and the English countryside, Ceremony of Innocence explores one family’s ambition in the aftermath of empire and the establishment’s ruthless pursuit of power in the new world order.

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Enter the 2021TripFiction 'Sense of Place' Creative Writing Competition!

A story in which the location plays as important a role as the rest of your words.

2,500 word maximum, 750 word minimum

Judges include Victoria Hislop and Rosanna Ley

First Prize of £1,000 / US$1,350

Prizes total £1,750 / US$2,362 

Winning entry published on TripFiction site and publicised on Social Media

Entries close 6th November 2021