Creative Writing

Flight Paths

"I have finished my weekly supermarket shop, stocking up on provisions for my three kids, my husband, our dog and our cat. I push the loaded trolley across the car park, battling to keep its wonky wheels on track. I pop open the boot of my car and then for some reason, I have no idea why, I look up, into the clear blue autumnal sky. And I see him. It takes me a long moment to figure out what I am looking at. He is falling from the sky. A dark mass, growing larger quickly. I let go of the trolley and am dimly aware that it is getting away from me but I can't move, I am stuck there in the middle of the supermarket car park, watching, as he hurtles toward the earth. I have no idea how long it takes - a few seconds, an entire lifetime - but I stand there holding my breath as the city goes about its business around me until...

He crashes into the roof of my car."

Flight PathsThe car park of Sainsbury's supermarket in Richmond, southwest London, lies directly beneath one of the main flight paths into Heathrow Airport. Over the last decade, on at least five separate occasions, the bodies of young men have fallen from the sky and landed on or near this car park.

All these men were stowaways on flights from the Indian subcontinent who had believed that they could find a way into the cargo hold of an airplane by climbing up into the airplane wheel shaft. No one can survive this journey.

'Flight Paths' seeks to explore what happens when lives collide - the airplane stowaway and the fictional suburban London housewife, quoted above. This project will tell their stories.

The initial goal of this project is to create a work of digital fiction, a 'networked book', created on and through the internet. In its first stage, the project will greet the world with the website at, opening up the research, development and writing process to the outside world, inviting discussion of the large array of issues the project touches on, asking participants to create their own content for the project.

This project is funded by Arts Council England, London, and partnered by the Institute of Creative Technologies at De Montfort University, The Institute for the Future of the Book, and Refugee Week.

For further information about this project, please contact:
Kate Pullinger
Email: info [at]