The Bath Short Story Award 2013 Anthology features my short story ‘A Really Nice Day.’ It is available here from Amazon, Apple and Kobo for £3.99. This is the first story that I’ve had published in an e-book and has been launched byEmma Dally and the team at Hearst Publishing. The 12 stories in the anthology were the winning and short-listed entries from the 1200 entries they recieved.
When I wrote the story I was experimenting with first person narration from a darker characters perpsective…
Thursday was the Luke Bitmead Awards in London. I was happy enough be shortlisted, but was delighted when they announced that I had won second prize! It was a lovely evening and I got some very encouraging feedback from Ruth Dugdall (author and judge). The other judges were: Sam Mills, Elaine Hanson (Luke’s mother) and Tom Chalmers, Lucy Chamberlain and Lauren Parsons from Legend Press.
I was lucky enough to be sat on the same table as Jo Gatford (the winner) and see the moment when she found out that she had won. Her book, Piecemeal will be published by Legend Press next year and I am really looking forward to reading it. Congratulations too to third prize winner, Liam White, for his novel Fade to White. The other shortlisted writers were: Alex Vargas, Andrew Stephen Hatch, Fran Slater, Martin Cathcart Froden, Paul McMahon and Paul White.
The award was set up to commemerate Luke Bitmead, a young and talented writer, who very sadly took his own life at the age of 34. Its aim is to raise awareness of mental health issues whilst also providing help and encouragement to new writers. There is more information about Luke’s Trust here. Luke’s mother, Elaine, made a very moving speech on the night. I feel very honoured to have been part of the event and I’m sure that the other contestants felt the same. Luke’s family and Legend Press put on a lovely evening.
I have had a great week. I have just found out that I have also been shortlisted for the 2013 Impress Prize for my new novel The Bearded Ladybird. It’s fabulous news and I couldn’t be happier.
I have had some great news. I have been shortlisted for the 2013 Luke Bitmead Bursary for Getting Away With It. I’m obviously delighted and also very surprised. The prize is in association with Legend Press.
In case you haven’t heard of the prize I’ll just tell you a little bit about it. The prize was set up to commemorate Luke, who tragically took his own life in 2006. Luke is the author of the White Summer (the first novel to be published by Legend Press), The Body is a Temple and co-author of Heading South. The books are available on Amazon and the proceeds to towards his memorial fund, which has been set up to support new writers and to raise awareness of mental health issues. I haven’t read the book, but I intend to do so. It is the next one on my Kindle list it’s available here if you would like to do the same – the proceeds go towards the memorial fund.
I’m going to hammer this new novel. I’ve had a few weeks off, but it’s time to get some words down. So lax that I’ve missed the deadline for Bridport too – how ridiculous.
Very sad news about Iain Banks. The Wasp Factory is one of my favourite books. I’m gutted that I didn’t go and hear him speak when he was in Manchester. I wanted to go and couldn’t make it. Life is too short.
I’ve sent out my first chapters to a couple of agents. Wish them luck!
Just started another novel. I would like to have it planned out beautifully, but I don’t. I’m just going with the flow again and seeing where it takes me. It’s more fun that way. It’s set by the sea, so that’s a good excuse for a few days out anyway.
I’ve had some great news. I won first prize in novel category of the Yeovil Prize. I can’t believe it! First prize! It was such a brilliant surprise and the fact that it is for the novel means such a lot. I had some fabulous comments on it from Sophie Hannah too. She said this about it:
‘I loved this because its emotionally and psychologically ambitious, has a strong compelling authorial voice, and is a psychological crime novel that gets right to the heart of why people do harm to one another. I liked the fact that the killer/baddie is not demonised, but rather shown to the reader in all her flawed complexity, so that we can’t help identifying with her. A brilliant brave idea, very well executed.’
That anyone would say this about something I’ve written is wonderful enough, but to get this from an actual crime writer? Amazing! I couldn’t be more pleased.
I’ve had some nice news. I’ve been shortlisted for the Yeovil Literary Prize. This means that someone likes the beginning of the novel – hurrah!
I’ve nearly finished editing the novel now. I gave it to a friend, who has pointed out a couple of issues with it. I knew that they were there, but batted them aside. It’s good to get something to focus on it with it and know which areas need work.
After I’ve cleared up these issues (there aren’t too many) I’m going to send it off into the big wide world. I’ve just started something new too. It’s nice to have the freedom to do whatever I feel like again instead of editing. The new project involves murder (again) - there’s a pattern emerging…
I was shortlisted for the Fish Short Story Prize and even though I didn’t win I’m pleased. I got down to one of the last 145 out of 1900 so that’s positive. I’m going to tidy my story out and send it off somewhere else now and try not to feel any animosity towards David Mitchel the judge. I liked Black Swan Green too much to hold a grudge anyway. Things are moving in the right direction so that’s good.
I’m trying to enter a few competitions again. I’ve entered Myslexia and I might send my short listed story off to the Nottingham Short Story Competition next and see what they make of it – after an edit or two.
I need some more short stories though. Must do some new ones…
I’m still at the river. Still working on my draft. It now reads consecutively, but I’ve got a way to go yet. Today I’ve printed out the latest draft onto hard-copy and I’m retyping it from scratch. The idea is that I won’t keep anything that is dreadful and I’ll be able to see it with fresh eyes – (that’s the idea anyway). I’m at 60,000 words so I’m happy with that. There are a lot of tweaks to go yet, but I’m getting there. I won’t give up!
Last week I went to a literature event with Rupert Thomson and Patrick McGuinness in Manchester. It was an inspiring reading. I loved Rupert Thomson’s writing and he’s on my list now as a ‘need to read’. Afterwards I was told that nine drafts is a normal amount for a novel, so I’m happy that I’m on the right track. Each one is a step closer. Just got to keep walking.