A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.
My gift would need a little magic and perhaps a small miracle or two.
On the eve of Christmas Eve, the last-minute wrapping & complex calculations for the cooking time of turkeys would suddenly disappear.
Unwanted guests and unwelcome invitations would evaporate too, and grumpy partners and recalcitrant teenagers become, miraculously, cooperative.
And the stage would be set.
In a light snowfall, a limousine would appear at their front door. A stretched limousine. Something outrageous like a Humvee. Pink. Or pure black, with tinted windows.
Inside, champagne – and the passports of my friend and the people she (or he) truly loves.
A chauffeur would drive them all to Heathrow. Their boarding cards would say NAI, or maybe DAR; I haven’t quite decided.
A free shopping spree would follow for light-weight clothing: long-sleeved shirts, cotton trousers, sturdy boots, and mosquito repellent.
When their aeroplane landed six or seven hours later – with Brexit thousands of miles away, along with credit card bills, homework, and rejection letters – they would step out into the equatorial heat, under wide, clear African skies, with the snow-tipped peak of Mount Kilimanjaro glittering in the morning.
A private Cessna plane would be waiting on the sizzling tarmac – just for them.
Far out in the bush, it would circle a landing strip twice, chasing grazing antelopes off the grass before setting down.
Open-topped Land Rovers would take them across the savannah, teeming with crickets and calling blacksmith plovers, and the aquamarine flash of rollers.
Someone would cry, Giraffe! Zebra! Wildebeest! They’d come unexpectedly across a pride of lions, lazily swatting flies. A cheetah and her cubs would trot past, and gazelles with flashing tails would drink at a waterhole.
And there would be elephants. Majestic, spectacular, unforgettable African elephants.
Their camp would be hidden among acacia trees, with a river nearby where hippos wallow and hyenas laugh at dusk. Each tent would be so big that everyone gets a four-poster bed.
That evening, beside the campfire, my friend’s closest writing buddies would arrive, with their loved ones too: an entire writing tribe, sharing meat and wine, telling stories to each other and dreaming together through the long, hot, star-studded night.
Rowena House is an historical author for teens and a creative writing mentor as well as a journalist. Her debut novel, THE GOOSE ROAD, is out with Walker Books in April, 2018.