Veronica Cecil - Actress, Author, Playright.

Author, broadcaster, playwright, actress… 

Short Stories

I have published short stories in Wandsworth magazine and MONK. For MONK, I published an article dealing with art and the spirit, interviewing the painters Caroline Dean and Qu Lei Lei’

The Idiot 

The car screeched to a stop as it rounded the corner to the hotel. Several small boys ran across the road and away down the hillside.
‘Blast you!’ shouted Albert, leaning on his horn, ‘I might have hit one of you.’
But the boys were already away. Running down the hill with the idiot boy lolloping clumsily behind them. One turned and threw something. ‘Voetsack, man’ he shouted in a shrill unbroken voice. ‘Voetsack! We don’t want you,’
Perdita saw the idiot hesitate for a moment, his mouth hanging open, his shoulders cowed in permanent servility. Then he started off again with the same old lollop. Doggedly following. Always rejected. ‘Why does he do it?’ she wondered briefly with a twinge of sympathy …

The Idiot, published 1978 by Huchison New Stories 3 An Arts Council Anthology

Guito’s Birthday Party

I always know when it’s Guto.   He doesn’t own a car and he’s never learned to drive so he pays all his social calls on his tractor.   This time I’m in the kitchen cooking.   “How are you?” I hear him shouting at my London visitors, and then.  “Very well thank you” though no one has asked.   When I come through to the living room I find him entrenched in the sofa, seemingly oblivious to the fact that lunch is about to be served.   “I came to ask you to my birthday party next Saturday” he announces with a vulpine grin, which is in fact shyness.   I cannot help noticing that Guto’s teeth are disappearing at much the same rate as his hair.   “How old are you going to be?”    “Sixty five.”   I must look surprised – in spite of the diminishing hair and the teeth Guito is ageless. He emits one of his famous laughs.   “Duw. By God ydw, sixty five!”   The noise is somewhere between a cackling hen and a pan full of pebbles.

Guto’s Birthday Party, published in The Christmas Bedside Edition of the Wandsworth Society.

The Shikari Wallah – Broadcast by the BBC 1989

… The house boats were owned by a Mr. Butt who’d come into his business via the raj.   At independence some colonel had casually bequeathed his house boat to his favourite golf caddie who just happened to be Mr. Butt’s father.   Since then the original house boat had multiplied so that there was now a mini flotilla moored beside the old mogul garden and guarded by ancient chinar trees.   It was a prime site.  The whole thing should have been perfect, only, in spite of Mr. Butt’s effusive welcome, his kisses:   “Welcome home, little daughter of India” I was uneasily aware that it was really my money he loved and not me, and when I dressed up in Kashmiri clothes to please him I’d felt clumsy and ugly and white.   And yet I’d felt compelled to play the game and despised myself for my hypocrisy.

The Shikari Wallah, Broadcast on the BBC


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Veronica Cecil


I have lived a life on the edge of the great chasms of the twentieth century. A child of partition – growing up on North West Frontier, bordering on Afghanistan, as the Great Game played out in my girlhood home and the Nazi threat loomed; a white child in South Africa as it descended down the monstrous road of Apartheid; a young woman caught up in a deadly civil war in the Congo, a cat’s paw of the superpower Cold War conflict.

I write memoir with a difference – the backdrop is the conflict and upheaval you read about in the history books. I give you the mood, the intrigue and the lies adults told each other about a world changing in front of them. I show what it was really like and paint the past in vivid colours.

I am widowed with four children and nine grandchildren.

I have performed, taught drama, broadcast on the radio, and written for most of my adult life. I am widely travelled and give talks on my adventures.

I started my career as an actress – in repertory companies including Newcastle and Richmond in the UK.

When my children were small I got regular commissions to write half hour satirical television plays for children. I scripted a film and wrote two stage plays and published a short story in New Stories 3, an anthology published for the UK Arts Council in 1978 by Hutchinson.

I also wrote plays for BBC Radio 4

After taking a degree in English and Drama, I taught drama to young adults.

This was followed by a career as a freelance reporter making features and packages for BBC Radio 4 –  mainly for Woman’s Hour – as well as Radio 3 and the BBC World Service. I also wrote and broadcast documentaries and wrote and read short stories for Radio 4.

In 1990 I went out to South Africa and did a number of pieces mainly about the women in South Africa.

Having been born in British India I got a commission to go back to where I grew up and wrote and broadcast a series of six ‘Letters from Abroad’ about what the country was like during the days of the Raj and the current situation in what is now Pakistan.

I have also written articles among others for the Guardian and the Oldie – about playing a cameo role in the Profumo scandal when  British Intelligence listened in on the MP’s sexual exploits through our nursery wall.

In 2011 I wrote a book entitled ‘Drums on the Night Air’ published by Constable and Robinson, a memoir about going out to the Congo with my husband, getting caught up in a war and having to give birth to a baby while fleeing with my one year old son.

I have written a book entitled ‘Blood for our Blood’ about the murder of my mother’s cousin, a brilliant young surgeon, in Peshawar, British India 1932. The case appeared to have been abandoned for political reasons. In 1995 I went out to Pakistan and discovered the true reason for the murder.

After leaving India in 1947, my family went to Southern Africa.

I am currently writing a book about racism and colonialism entitled ‘Confessions of an Imperial Childhood

More about me

Past achievements
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