This is such a strange, solitary business. I’m always interested to hear other writers talk about their experiences, and I recently heard Lionel Shriver at the Word Factory, discussing ‘So the Short Story doesn’t Sell?’ You can read more about the evening on my blog.
One of my writing heroes is the wonderful Sebastian Barry. I was lucky enough to hear him speak recently, too – and to grab a selfie! – at the Oxford Literary Festival.
An inspiring outing is a welcome boost in the long process of writing my novel, which still takes up much of my working life. I’m deep in editing and re-drafting, and it was wonderful to be shortlisted recently for the Exeter Novel Prize. I was thrilled when judge Broo Doherty, of DHH, called it ‘a beautifully written novel about identity, forgiveness and coming to terms with the past’.
You can be intrigued by my work here.
The discipline of deadlines is enormously important to my writing motivation, and it’s interesting to be on the other side of the fence, as a reader for The Brighton Prize for short stories and flash fiction. Last year’s prize attracted a great response, and a real diversity of subjects and voices. It was wonderful to be part of the celebration at a candlelit reading at The Brunswick in Brighton in November, where we heard Paula Hunter (@hillsnspills) read her beautiful first-prize story ‘Wait’, and Haleh Agar (@HalehAgar) read her wonderful winning Flash piece ‘Jellyfish’. See the website for more details – and be inspired to enter the competition this year.
Reading for the prize is a humbling reminder of the amount of work for all involved in running a competition. As a result, I’ve vowed to atone for past sins by in future pressing ‘Send’ before 11.59 pm…