OC Neel Patel’s creative talents rewarded


27 January 2019

Old Citizen (1990 – 1997) Neel Patel’s short story, ‘A New Lease of Life’ has been published in ‘Insights: Fifteen Stories Exploring Disability’ published by Claret Press.

Neel’s story is a science fiction tale about a traveller with a guilty secret who boards a flight to San Francisco only to arrive there several years in the future. As he learns what happened to his severely disabled brother in the intervening period, he discovers a surprising link between his brother's fate and the purpose of his own journey.

‘A New Lease of Life’ was chosen from seventy submitted to a short story competition inspired by author Sarah Gray’s ability to creatively harness her experience of Motor Neurone Disease. The judges, Sarah Gray, Katie Isbester, editor-in-chief of Claret Press, and Dr James Scott, an orthopaedic surgeon, were looking for innovative storytelling around the issue of mental and physical illness.

The quality was exceptionally high, and the stories were, without exception, moving,” commented the judges. “The best of a great selection have been collected here. Some stories are hilarious, some heart-breaking. They include sci-fi, romance, satire and memoir. All challenge us to see mental and physical disability through a different lens - one infused with humanity.”

Net proceeds from the sale of the book will go to support the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Neel, who studied Accounting and Finance at the London School of Economics and went on to pursue a successful career in the financial sector, latterly at Citi, says that he has maintained creative writing as an extra-curricular pursuit throughout his career:

“I was fortunate to be taught by a series of talented and inspiring English Literature teachers including Richard Blanch and Brian Jones, both of whom encouraged my efforts at creative writing.

“In the last couple of years, I have been especially active in entering short story competitions that I hear about on writing forums. The competition organised by the Claret Press caught my interest due to its positive spirit.” 

 ‘Insights: Fifteen Stories Exploring Disability’ is available via amazon.co.uk.