OKAY… so it wasn’t the BBC National Short Story Prize (see earlier blog), but it was still wonderful to win something. Top prize in the International Short Story comp at the 2009 Wells Festival of Literature, to be precise, and I am still glowing from my fabulous day out.
Wells is a beautiful city (WELL worth a visit, LOL) and the Festival was brilliantly organised and hosted by the friendliest folk you could meet. It was great to be handed my certificate and cheque and bask in a little praise, but the highlight for me (apart from my secret visit to Wells Cathedral chained library, more about which another time) was meeting bestselling novelist Fiona Walker, who judged the competition and dished out the prizes.
I’ve met other successful authors, and have been variously inspired or dismayed (e.g. Terry Pratchett – towering genius with oddly squeaky voice, Stephen Fry – extremely tall and howlingly drunk), but Fiona was something else again. She gave the most insightful and amusing talk about the perils of the publishing industry and her life in writing, and then gamely accompanied us to lunch.
It’s lovely to meet someone whose work you have read and enjoyed, and then find that not only are they exactly as warm and funny and inventive as you’d imagine them to be from their writing, but that they are kind, supportive and encouraging to other writers as well. I’ve got a signed copy of her latest book , ‘Love Hunt’ , lined up as my next bedtime read and am looking forward to buying the one she’s currently editing, which sounds like it’s gonna be a real ripsnorter!
So thank you Fiona for making the day so much fun, and for being everything a writer should be…