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The Pavilion in the Clouds

Author(s): Alexander McCall Smith

Location(s): Sri Lanka

Genre(s): Historical, Fiction

Era(s): 1938

It is 1938 and the final days of the British Empire. In a bungalow high up in the green hills above the plains of Ceylon, under a vast blue sky, live the Ferguson family: Bella, a precocious eight-year-old, her father Henry – owner of Pitlochry, a tea plantation – and her mother Virginia. The story centres around the Pavilion in the Clouds, nestled in idyllic grounds carved out of the wilderness. But all is not as serene as it seems. Bella is suspicious of her governess Miss White’s intentions. Her intuition sparks off her mother’s imagination, and, after an unfortunate series of events, a confrontation results in a gunshot ringing out through the valley.

Years later, Bella, now living back in Scotland at university in St Andrews, is faced, once again, with her past. Will she at last find out what happened between her father and Miss White? And will the guilt she has lived with all these years be reconciled by a long-overdue apology?

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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