In what has been a very busy month, writing-wise, it was an absolute treat to attend the dinner for the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize 2015 on 14 May – and a huge surprise to win!
Having enjoyed reading their novel extracts so much, it was great to meet the four other writers shortlisted for the prize (Tracy Kuhn, Amy Spencer, Sonia Velton and Rebecca Welshman), the prize judges who were able to attend that evening (literary agent Nelle Andrew and bestselling author Allison Pearson), as well as Professor Janet Todd, president of Lucy Cavendish College.
An added delight was having the chance to share all this with my close friend and Something Rhymed collaborator Emma Claire Sweeney. Emma and I have been supporting each other’s ‘writing journeys’ for well over a decade now, and she has seen me through so many ups and downs. So this made her the obvious person to ask along as my guest for the evening. Having Emma there to celebrate with me made the whole experience extra special.
I’m delighted to announce that I will be reading an extract of my as-yet-unpublished first novel A Tiny Speck of Black and then Nothing at the Writing on the Wall festival in Liverpool on Wednesday 14 May.
In other writing news, the Yorkshire Post recently featured an article on Something Rhymed, the literary website I run with Emma Claire Sweeney. Throughout 2014, Emma Claire and I are profiling the writing friendships of well-known female authors, and this month we’re turning the spotlight on Emily Dickinson and Helen Hunt Jackson.
We’re still actively looking for more literary pals to consider for the site, so please keep letting us know your thoughts by Tweeting us, or contacting us via somethingrhymed.com.
An email arrived in my inbox on Tuesday afternoon bearing the wonderful news that my first novel A Tiny Speck of Black and then Nothing is on the long-list for the Mslexia Novel Competition.
Then on Friday I received another very welcome message, this time from the writer Katy Massey, to let me know that my memoir about being brought up in a mixed English and Japanese household in York has been published on her Tangled Roots website. The same piece should appear in book form some time in early 2014.
I’ve blogged about Tangled Roots before here. One of the things that I’ve most enjoyed about this project has been meeting the other featured writers, and having the chance to read their stories and poems about their own experiences of a being part of multiracial families in Yorkshire. I strongly recommend that you take a look at their work.
Having had to keep it quiet until now, it’s good to be able to start letting people know that my novel A Tiny Speck of Black and then Nothing has taken third place in the Yeovil Literary Prize, judged by Tracy Chevalier.
I’ve long been an admirer of Chevalier’s prose and her writerly eye for detail, and so her kind comments about the book make the experience extra special. You can read her words about all the novel prize winners, and find out more about the prize, here.
Another pleasure this week was being able to attend the launch night of Tangled Roots, a project documenting the experiences of multi-racial families from Yorkshire. I’ve blogged about it before here. There are currently seven writers involved with the project, set up by Katy Massey, and photos of six of us will be displayed at Seven in Leeds until the middle of October.
If you can’t make it to the exhibition, you can view the images, taken by photographer Anthony Farrimond, on the Tangled Roots website. There’s lots more information about the project there too.
As some friends already know, my partner and I have recently returned from a motorcycle tour of Spain (with him doing the driving, me sitting on the back).
We saw all sorts of amazing sights: a school of jumping dolphins on the ferry crossing out and a whale on the return journey, a meteor shower on a cold mountain night, a magnificent sunset at mainland Europe’s southernmost point.
But one of the experiences I think we’ll look back on the most is a day we spent at a small motorcycle garage on the outskirts of Granada. I’ve written up what happened in this article, which won this week’s Just Back competition in the Daily Telegraph. This is my first piece of travel writing, so I’m really glad they chose it.
It’s been a busy couple of months since I last posted any news on this blog. Two recent pleasures for me were being involved with the New Writing Showcase by Novel Studio students at City University London, and making the shortlist for the Yeovil Literary Prize, judged this year by Tracy Chevalier.
Whilst I’m used to reading my own work in public, I’d never compered a readings event before the Novel Studio showcase, but I was helped by the fact that the students’ work was of such a good standard. The audience of family, friends and industry professionals all seemed to really enjoy the evening.
As for the short-listing – in the novel category, with my first book A Tiny Speck of Black and then Nothing – I’m obviously thrilled. I look forward to finding out the final results when they are announced.