Jack COLLISTER - 10/05/2022
In 2017 I started writing a book; the title was ‘Stumped’ and it was a murder mystery about a cricket team in England. I finished the book and then decided not to publish it for a long time. That is until I moved to France.
If you speak to a group of cricket enthusiasts in England, they probably won’t believe you if you say that cricket is played competitively in France. The sport is mostly played in ex-colonial countries such as Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, South Africa and Jamaica. That is why, when I moved to Nantes, I was very surprised to discover a team; masculine and feminine. Of course, there are a lot of expats playing who already know the game but - at the same time - there is a lot of interest from French people too. It’s always funny to see spectators at the Grand Blottereau Park in Nantes asking ‘what sport we are playing? Is it baseball?’ It is quotes like this which made me think: ‘okay, this is too perfect. I need to change the theme and title of my book - ‘Stumped’ - and make it a cricket murder mystery… in France.’ All the elements for a perfect comedy were there. Even the title ‘French Cricket’ is a reference to a children’s game played in England (I don’t know why we call this game ‘French Cricket’ but… c’est comme ça).
Rewriting a book was a very interesting process; it definitely helped me make the book funnier because I was keeping the old jokes and adding new ones at the same time. I also decided to make the French characters speak with a strong accent: ‘I ‘av just ‘ad a cray’zee idea.’ This was fun to write but I feel it might be more difficult to read for people who are not native English speakers.
Anyway, overall I am very happy with the final product and even if it ‘pokes fun at the French’ a little bit, it is more of a love letter to how much I enjoy my life - and games of cricket - here in Nantes.