We love a good competition at UK2. In the past 6 months, we’ve given away a PS4, a TV, an entertainment system, a NetFlix subscription, a Chromebook and some Amazon vouchers.
Today, we’re giving away five signed copies of the newly-released novel Love and Eskimo Snow, by Sarah Holt – along with a Kindle Fire!
The title of Sarah’s the book refers to the myth that Eskimos have more than 200 different words for snow, with the idea being that love should be the same.
At UK2, we’ve got our hands on five of the first copies ever printed. The reason we were first in line? We’re sponsoring the book’s edible launch party at the end of May as part of our new campaign to support emerging talent. The event is the first of its kind in the UK and will see edible experience company Edible Stories telling the plot of the novel through food and cocktails. Tickets are selling like hot cakes, but there are still a few left if you want to make literary history with us.
Winning a copy of the book, along with your new Kindle Fire, is easy. Just tweet us, telling us what love means to you, tagging @UK2. Just click on the button below.
The results will be announced on Tuesday June 10. You can tweet as many times as you like until then.
Want a preview? The following is an excerpt from the first page of the book…
Stubbed out like a cigarette butt. Bea had always imagined there would be a slow-motion moment before it all ended. She had expected there would be time to repent, confess or write a final note. But that’s not the way it happened. There wasn’t even blackness. She was gone before the dark could descend.
After the car collided with the oak tree, it took just a fifth of a second for the steering column to impale Bea’s chest. Then her blood started rushing into her lungs. She’d never paid attention to the trees on Craychild Road, they were just a backdrop to her journey to work. Would they have been kinder to her if she had acknowledged they were there?
The accident happened on a Tuesday morning. Bea had woken in the light of a cooling autumn sun, just before her alarm. Anticipating the impending wake-up call, she’d kept her eyes closed, willing the time to bloat so she could stay in the cocoon of her covers for a little while longer. The unavoidable bell tolled at 6.30am and Bea started her transition into the day by thrusting her left leg out of the side of the bed. She never jumped into the morning with two feet; she didn’t want to startle the day with a sudden entrance. She thought a graded exposure was gentler on everyone and always the safest bet.
But for all Bea’s pussy-footing around to avoid offending time, the Tuesday morning had done her no favours. It had presented no sympathetic tip-off that October 2nd would be the last day of her life. Even if she had hunted for it, she wouldn’t have stumbled upon that all-important reprieving sign. There was no fate-changing epiphany to be hunted down. Instead, Bea went about her morning routine. It had been the same for years now. She would shower, put on her make-up and dry her thick coffee-coloured hair before making her way to the kitchen diner, where she would switch on the news and put a slice of brown bread in the toaster. Once the toast popped up, Bea would leave it an extra few minutes to cool. She didn’t like it when the butter melted and made the bread soggy. After finishing her breakfast she would place the plate in the sink and return to her bedroom to get dressed.
On the last morning of her life Bea was not late. The butter displayed a satisfying degree of buoyancy on top of her toast. The news featured a balance of happy and sad stories. She had applied the correct amount of foundation to her nose to hide the splatter of freckles that the summer’s sun had teased out of her skin. It had even been easy to choose what to wear. She’d decided upon a lead-coloured pencil skirt and a sky-blue shirt.
Bea parked her black Audi TT in a gated car park, three metres away from her front door. She’d driven the car for two years now. Inside, there was one extra seat and she liked the fact that she had the power to decide who got the exclusive rights to ride shotgun. The TT was Bea’s second car. The first one had been a battered, dented, faded Vauxhall Corsa that she had bought in her second year of university. She had worked two jobs to buy the banger and eaten nothing but beans on toast for nearly a month to pay the insurance. The TT had been bought to celebrate her first anniversary at work, two years later. She’d just walked into the showroom, paid the deposit and first direct debit instalment and driven the car home. She hadn’t known that in 80 per cent of accidents death comes to the drivers of small cars. The satiny new paint was a sign of fertility to her, not a precursor to her death.
The journey to work had been the same for the last three years, so every flick of the indicator and turn of the wheel had become automatic for Bea. Right turn, left turn, two more rights and a mini roundabout got her to work in twenty minutes.
On the last Tuesday, she left the house on time at 7.30am. Dawn was still spilling onto the earth and the early morning streets were still paused. Inside the houses she passed, teeth were being brushed, kettles were boiling and fluffy dressing gowns were soaking up the sleep from drowsy bodies. The weather wasn’t wintery yet, but the outside air was cold enough to make Bea’s muscles brace. She hurried into her driving seat, quickly turned the key in the ignition, and set the heater to high.
As she pulled out of the car park, a male breakfast show presenter bantered with a female co-host on the radio. The woman’s tones were affectedly masculine, but what she had achieved in baritone, she lacked in wit, and she responded to every friendly jibe with a school-yard-quality response. She was rubber, he was glue. Bea changed the frequency.
As she approached the national speed limit sign on Craychild Road, Bea’s attention turned to acceleration. Her patent black stilettos slipped slightly as she bore her foot down on the go-faster pedal. As the car reached fifty-five the chorus to Madonna’s ‘Material Girl’ trilled through the car. Irritated, Bea reached for the tuning buttons and started to scroll through the stations. She had discarded a traffic update and some aggressive classical she didn’t recognise before she turned her attention back to the road she drove down every weekday.
But this Tuesday morning, the road was different. Adrenaline flooded into her bloodstream as the familiar scene was torn up by a modified VW Golf. The car was all blacked out windows, body kit and lowered suspension. The spoiler looked like it had been attached by a mechanic whose expertise stretched no further than a child’s Meccano kit. Said spoiler was hanging to the boot in as fragile a manner as a wobbly baby tooth clings to a gum. To Bea’s horror, the Golf had swerved over the central white lines and was throttling its way towards her TT, like a bull to a matador. The front grill of the Golf smiled sinisterly. Like the released blade on a guillotine, it showed no sign of stopping.
Bea’s arm muscles contracted. The steering wheel jolted to the left. Higher brain functions had snapped to ‘off’. Reflex was in control. Her thigh muscle stamped her foot into the brake pedal. Suddenly Bea didn’t know where she was. The car was taking off. Her confusion stopped her from seeing the oak tree before the car plunged head-on into it.
First the bumper crumpled. Then the grill collapsed. The bonnet rose as it wrinkled, splintering the glass in the windscreen. Bea was dead long before the car’s frame buckled in the middle, smashing her head into the remainder of the flaking windscreen glass. Her swan song turned out to be the final chorus of ‘Material Girl’. In her vanity, Bea had always imagined the soundtrack to her final moments would be much more romantic and profound.