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Thursday, 12 November 2015

The London Short Story Prize at the largest book shop in Europe

Me on the left with judges Jon McGregor, Elise Dillsworth and Kevin Barry, and  highly commended authors James Woolf and Kerry Barner




A week ago, I abandoned my novel-in-progress and the mist-shrouded Cotswolds to go to Waterstones Piccadilly for the London Short Story Prize announcement. The competition and the event were administered and arranged by the writer development agency, Spread The Word, who looked after everyone and made the whole experience a joy.

I had been amazed to see my story, Upshots, in the longlist, so when it had the great good fortune of reaching the shortlist of six, the surprise was wonderful. When Upshots was declared the winning story, I was completely overwhelmed by the news and by the generous feedback from the three judges.

I read an excerpt to the audience, which involved improvising a Yorkshire voice for Stan, my narrator. Acting the part took me right out of myself and helped overcome a few nerves. I was told by a proper Yorkshireman afterwards that I had managed to pull the accent off - yet another surprise because I was certain it came and went quite a bit.

Upshots will be included in an anthology from the competition, due to be published next year. This year's anthology, a beautiful book called Flamingo Land & other stories, was launched the same night and features last year's winning story by Ruby Cowling, and a story by my Twitter friend, Kate Willis. Ruby read an excerpt from her title story and it was truly mesmerising.

After the announcement, the next highlight of the evening - and what a highlight - was an Audience with Jon McGregor, who gave us a reading from his book-in-progress, and Kevin Barry, who read from his latest novel, Beatlebone, recently the winner of the 2015 Goldsmiths Prize .

And just to cap it all, on the way out of Waterstones, I spotted TDTL on the shelves. It was a big thrill to see it in Europe's largest book shop. I did replace it spine-out after the picture was taken, I promise.



10 comments:

  1. Many congratulations, Joanna. A wonderful achievement. Where can we read the winning story?

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    1. Thank you so much, Frances. The story will be in the anthology, to be published next year. I'll give it a mention once it launches. xxx

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  2. Once again, congratulations, and I'm glad you enjoyed 'your' night!

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    1. That's very kind, Lindsay. Thank you very much! xxx

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  3. What a fabulous evening, Joanna. Many congratulations again on such an achievement and how great to see your book on the shelf!

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    1. Thank you very much, Rosemary. It really was a fantastic evening and seeing my book there was a moment to remember. I'd seen online that it was in stock there, but didn't think it could possibly be true until I saw it for myself! xxx

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  4. How lovely, Joanna - congratulations. It sounds like a fantastic evening! And to see your book there must have been wonderful xx

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    1. Thank you so much, Teresa. It truly was an evening of delights. And while there is nothing I prefer to being at home with books to read and my writing in which to lose myself, it felt good to go out and be a part of something so special. xxx

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  5. I am so thrilled for you Joanna. Many, many congratulations!! Your hard work (or should I say, fun!) is truly paying off. I wish you a continuing journey that prospers and brings forth joy and happiness. Have a lovely, relaxing weekend.

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    1. Thank you so much, Nicola! I really appreciate your kind words. It is fantastic to have special moments like this as a reward for doing something I love so much and every day without fail, I realise how fortunate I am. xxx

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