LETTER : Fifi's tale: fact, not fiction

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The Independent Online
From Ms Nicola Barker

Sir: For anybody who happened to read "Burning and peeling", my "short story" in last Saturday's Independent Magazine, especially my family, my friends of long ago, and the poodle involved (on the off-chance that he has learnt to read), I want to explain that I was commissioned to write a piece of autobiographical journalism, and did so.

It was not a story. It was true. No names were changed, except that of the poodle, who was in fact called Fifi and not Schnapps. I didn't think anyone would actually believe in a poodle called Fifi.

I felt a bit silly when the piece came out as a story. If it had been a story, I think the poodle might have performed amazing tricks and I would have made myself a much more charming personality. Like I am today.

Yours, perplexed,

Nicola Barker

London, E5

22 August