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.
I’ve just returned home after a lovely twenty-four hours when I travelled down by train to the Ilkley Literature Festival with my good friend Sarah. I’ve known Sarah for years and having her there to accompany me to the inaugural SI Leeds Literary Prize award evening helped make the experience even more special.
Bonnie Greer and Margaret Busby opened the evening at the Ilkey Playhouse with a fascinating talk about their own personal histories as writers and some reflections on the publishing world of today and the spaces that Black and Asian writers occupy within it.
Then the prizes were announced, with Minoli Salgado being awarded the winner’s trophy, followed by Karen Onojaife in second place, and Jane Steele and I in joint third.
A high point of the evening for me was being able to hear the other winning writers reading their work aloud. I hope to hear lots more from them and the other shortlisted writers, Katy Massey and Anita Sivakumaran, in the future.
I had an amazing time last night taking part in Literary Death Match, London, Episode 27. I was there representing Untitled Books, who recently published the short story from which I read an extract. It was a real pleasure to share the stage with Polly Courtney, Jonathan Lee and Benjamin Wood, who all read fantastic pieces.
The evening’s finale between the literary round winners (Jonathan and me) was a bizarre game of anagrams that involved moving around card-clutching volunteers from the audience so that they spelled out the names of famous authors. Jonathan – clearly much better at puzzles than me – was a deserving winner. I was happy to finish as runner-up.
I enjoyed meeting all of the night’s readers as well as the judges, Dr Brown, Rich Fulcher and Katy Guest, and the fantastic Literary Death Match team.