Sunday, 22 October 2017

The Bridport Short Story Prize 2017

Lunch at the ceremony - so good to hold this magnificent anthology in my hands.

Heavens, it's such a huge thrill that my flash fiction story, Confirmation Class, came second in The Bridport Prize. Thank you so much to the flash fiction judge, the brilliant author Kit de Waal, for her kindness and her heartwarming words about my piece. It was wonderful to meet her, and also Peter Hobbs, the short story judge, at the ceremony. Everyone at the beautiful Bridport Arts Centre was so generous and welcoming.

After drinks and a gorgeous lunch, the prize-giving took place and we were able to read our stories or extracts to a very warm and appreciative audience. I enjoyed it so much, I wished I could go straight back on the stage and do it all again.

I was wearing a brand-new pair - and different prescription - of contact lenses that day - to try to improve my distance vision - and as a result, discovered I couldn't see well enough to read! So my husband dashed off to Boots and found me a pair of reading glasses to wear over the lenses. What a relief when the page transformed from a grey and white blur to recognisable words!

It was exciting to discover writer-friends at the ceremony. We had kept the news secret for a while, which meant there was no way of knowing in advance who would be there. So it was such a thrill to be there with C.G. Menon, highly commended in the short story category, Victoria Richards, also highly commended for her poetry, and Deepa Anappara, who won the First Novel Award!

It's fantastic now to be reading the incredible stories and poems in this anthology - hearty congratulations to all these talented writers. The Bridport Prize has been established for almost forty-five years now and attracts a huge number of entries from all around the world - the short story winner flew from Canada especially to be at the ceremony. It was massively exciting to be invited and a great honour for my story. Heartfelt thanks go to everyone involved, especially Prize Administrator, Kate Wilson, who orchestrates the arrangements so beautifully. Thank you all so much for this truly memorable day for me and my story.

Monday, 2 October 2017

What Was Left - Retreat West anthology

The beautiful anthology from Retreat West - the coloured dots representing the twenty stories, some darker, some more hopeful, and the rest reflecting the nuances in between.

I feel privileged my shortlisted story lent the title to this anthology, What Was Left, a beautiful collection of short stories and flash fiction from Retreat West

It was so good to see writer-friends Diane Simmons, Jude Higgins and Jo Derrick again, and to meet Amanda Huggins and Retreat West founder, Amanda Saint, at the September launch in Waterstones, Reading.

Huge congratulations to winners Judith Wilson (On Crosby Beach) and Jude Higgins (At The Hospital), who held the audience spellbound with their readings.

It was especially lovely to be in Reading as I met my husband there thirty-three years ago when we were both working in WH Smith. One of our daughters took this picture of us outside the store in the very spot where we first met.

The shop has been rebuilt since we worked there, but I think the entrance is roughly in the same place!

Thank you so much to Amanda and everyone at Retreat West for all the hard work that produced the book and the launch. Retreat West offer writing competitions for short stories, flash fiction and novels, as well as beautiful writing retreats and creative writing courses, so do check out their website .