Published on Thursday, March 3rd, 2022
Not that long ago, Dick’s daughter Liz was going through a box in her attic that had been taken from Dick’s house after he died in 2011. In a dusty old box, she came across a forgotten manuscript that she didn’t recognise. How strange, she thought, as she believed that she was aware of everything Dick had written.
The manuscript to Ambrose Follows His Nose was faded and yellowed, dog-eared at the edges and filled with the scribbled notes of a frustrated writer. These notes, of course, might well have alerted the family to the fact that its author wasn’t happy with it – was that why he’d discarded it and moved onto the next book? This story was clearly unfinished, but Liz, and the rest of Dick’s family saw its potential…
The family discussed it amongst themselves before approaching Dick’s great granddaughter Josie Rogers, who had a talent for writing, with a proposal. “They asked whether I’d like to have a go at finishing it.” Her reaction? “I was taken aback!” Furloughed from her day job, Josie immediately got to work.
“There were about eight or nine chapters (Rogers would add a further six), and it lacked an ending, so I finished it, and updated it a little, and tried very much to write in his voice. I guess it’s a combination, ultimately, but I did my best to stay true to his ethos rather than simply parroting him.”
“To have a new Dick King-Smith story when we thought that that would no longer be possible,” Rogers says, “was wonderful, a gift.”
We, Dick’s family, are thrilled that Josie has done such a fantastic job at completing her great grandfather’s story. You can read more about the discovery of Ambrose and how Josie came to complete it in this article in the i newspaper.
Ambrose Follows His Nose is out now.