Friday, 18 March 2011

Lots of reading

I'm furiously reading the short story collections which have been entered for the Edge Hill Prize 2011, (the longlist will be announced shortly). There are stacks of lovely new books waiting to be read (see Ailsa right, with a stack from a previous year). This is the part of working on the prize that I was most excited about: hours and hours of lovely books. I'm squeezing as many short stories into each day as I can. There's a book in my handbag and another in the car. There's one by my bed, another by the computer and another on the windowsill of the room where I currently do most of my writing. My brain is bursting with beautiful short stories. I feel like someone who has eaten too many Thornton's chocolates (it's a feeling I know well).

In between the reading, I'm trying to work on my novel. One chapter is definitely finished, others are in various stages of completion from nearly there to scribbled notes. I hadn't realised how much my writing style and attention span have become geared toward short stories - I'm struggling to stretch myself along the sweep of a story that's much bigger than the ones I'm used to telling.

Writing/reading wise there's lots to look forward to in the coming weeks. The Once Upon a Time competition winners will be announced later this month. I'm looking forward to hearing friends Robert Sheppard and Avril Scott read at Word Soup on March 24th and on 6th April I'll be attending a reading by Jeremy Dyson, (the link is to an article that talks about his 'writing shed' - the domestic arrangements of writers fascinate me!) winner of the 2010 Edge Hill Prize. The reading will be at Edge Hill University.

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