I won a prize! Not just by chance but for one of my short stories. This has made me glad for all sorts of reasons . . .
Heaven bless Ouen Press for selecting my story as the winner for their anthology on the theme of taste. I have the money – a lovely round £300 in my bank account. This delights me – someone actually demonstrated a piece of my work was worth paying for. They even named the anthology Tasting Notes after my story.
This means readers will do that wonderful bit of alchemy and turn my words into a real story in their imagination. Marvellous.
As for being the winner out of the baker’s dozen stories in the book, I’ve some thoughts on that. I expect when I get my copy (Candy Gourlay’s already got hers!) there will be tales I like better than my own, others I admire but don’t love – and some I just don’t ‘get’. That’s how it is with a selection box.
I know as a reviewer that picking a favourite is subjective. Yet I do recognise that the choice of a good editor implies a degree of quality. I am grateful for this validation: it’s a small certificate I can wave in the face of the Fraud Police.
And I have another scrap of paper to show them. A kind neighbour pointed out I was mentioned in the local paper The Chichester Observer. It’s not The Guardian announcing The Carnegie Medal winner but it’s something. I have to celebrate every little clamber upwards in this particular section of the literary Pennines. It can be a lonely old hike.
I can’t help but make an attempt at self-deprecating humour. I don’t want to be boastful and I don’t want to tempt fate. It’s partly a defence: I’ve had my hopes up before. When I was shortlisted for the Mslexia Children’s Novel prize and longlisted for the Times/Chicken House all those years ago, I became over-excited. I should have remembered my Kipling.
If you can meet with Triumph and DisasterAnd treat those two impostors just the same;
But now I just value all you lovely folk who’ve congratulated me. All you SCBWI BI & Ireland and Golden Egg Academy pals, Arvon chums, family and mixed friends. To be honest, I’d love it if you’d buy a copy – I’m sure Ouen Press would! A review would be nice. Or a tip in my KoFi pot.
Most of all, though, I appreciate your support.