A good week: third place in Yeovil Literary Prize and launch of the Tangled Roots project

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.

Just Back travel piece in the Telegraph

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.

Early on in our travels, when the bike was still running perfectly...
Early on in our travels, when the bike was still running perfectly…

Showcase and Yeovil Literary Prize short-listing

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.

For Books’ Sake interview

There are interviews with all the winning writers of the SI Leeds Literary Prize on the For Books’ Sake website: a great source of information about “Books By and For Independent Women”.

The website has lots of other really interesting feature articles as well as information about fiction and non-fiction books and writing-related events. I highly recommend it.

Short-listed for SI Leeds Literary Prize

An update on the SI Leeds Literary Prize: I found out yesterday that my novel A Tiny Speck of Black and then Nothing has now made the short-list of six! I’m really looking forward to the award ceremony on 3 October at the Ilkley Literature Festival, and to meeting the other finalists, organisers and judges.

If you want to know more, further information can be found in the blog post below and also on the prize website.

Many thanks to everyone who has been in touch – your support is very much appreciated.

Long-listed for SI Leeds Literary Prize

Although I had an idea that an announcement would be coming up, the phone call from Soroptimist International took me completely by surprise. I was delighted to learn that my novel A Tiny Speck of Black and then Nothing had made it into the final twelve manuscripts for the 2012 SI Leeds Prize.

The prize is a new award for unpublished fiction by Black and Asian women resident in the UK, and an initiative of Soroptimist International of Leeds working in partnership with Ilkley Literature Festival and Peepal Tree Press.

I’m so pleased to have been selected along with the other eleven writers, and I look forward to seeing who goes through to the shortlist.

A Tiny Speck of Black and then Nothing, set in the Japanese city of Ōsaka, draws on my experience of living and working in that country, as well as my own mixed heritage. The stories my late mother used to tell me have been a particular inspiration. If you are interested, you can find out more about my novel by visiting the Writing page of this website.

Thanks to everyone who entered…

Congratulations to Stuart Evers, a very worthy winner of Circle of Missé’s 2012 Writing Competition for his extract from the novel YNWA. Stuart wins a free place on the Circle of Missé course A Writer Progresses in April or May of this year.

As Emma Claire Sweeney and I judged all of the entries anonymously, the identity of the winner and all those who made the shortlist had been a secret to us until today, so it’s great to be able to put a name to such an engagingly written story.

Congratulations also to Viccy Adams, Terry Edge, Sarah Evans, Hilary Fennell, Caroline Healy, Sophie Mackintosh and Katherine Matthews, the seven runners-up.

For more details about the contest and the judging process, please visit the Circle of Missé website.

Emma and I really enjoyed reading all of the shortlisted entries, and I know I’d definitely love to see anyone who entered on my course at Missé in April.

Circle of Missé 2012 Spring Writing Competition

Circle of Misse house
Image I took of the Circle of Missé house from the garden during my stay in 2011

My good friend the writer Emma Claire Sweeney and I have been asked to be the judges for Circle of Missé’s first ever writing contest. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I’ll be teaching the course A Writer Progresses at Missé in April, so this represents just another chance to become involved in some of the great work that goes on there.

Here are the details for anyone who is interested:

Win a Week of Mentoring in France to Further Develop Your Fiction or Non-fiction Book

Submit a 2,000-5,000 word excerpt of your novel, memoir, short story collection or nonfiction book-in-progress for a chance to win a free place on one of Circle of Misse’s Spring 2012 ‘A Writer Progresses’ week-long mentored courses where you will be able to work directly with a writer and teacher to further develop your book and take it to the next level. Runners-up receive an invitation to attend one of the two courses at a deeply discounted rate to further develop their books. All entries receive 10% off any writing course offered by Circle of Misse in 2012.

Entry fee: FREE!

Competition closes: 22 January 2012

Full details are on the Circle of Missé website.

Good luck to everyone who decides to give it a go. I’m really looking forward to reading those entries.