Last night Sarah Hall won the 2012 Edge Hill prize and the Readers' Prize with her collection The Beautiful Indifference.
We had a lovely ceremony at the Free Word Centre which turned out to be a fantastic venue, as can be seen in the picture below.
Judges Suzi Feay and Graham Mort spoke about each of the collections and described the interesting and absorbing task of judging. I was lucky enough to sit in on the judges' meeting and it was fascinating to listen to them discuss the collections.
Edge Hill third year student Martin Palmer presented Sarah Hall with the Readers' Prize. Here he is talking about Hall's incredible use of language.
Winner of the 2012 Edge Hill Prize and Readers' Prize, Sarah Hall. Pictured with MA prize winner Dawn Wilde and judges Graham Mort, Rhiannon Evans and Suzi Feay.
Shortlisted authors Tessa Hadley and A.J Ashworth chat before the announcement of the winner. Also pictured are Jen Hamilton Emery from Salt publishing and Salt author Elizabeth Baines.
After the ceremony, we squeezed in to the Betsey Trotwood and chatted until the early hours. My lovely publisher Jen Hamilton Emery gave me a Salt bag and a copy of 'Greetings From Below' by David Philip Mullins - just what I needed for the train journey home.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in London, the Ether Writer Awards were taking place and I was really pleased (and frankly, very surprised) to hear that I won the award for the Best Ether Writer (Voted for by the Ether Community). I've never had an award before. I will try to keep it fingerprint free and dusted! It looks very breakable, so I'm being especially nice to my postman.
Working on the Edge Hill Prize has been a really enjoyable and interesting experience. I won't be working on the prize at all next year. I need to concentrate on writing my novel. But I will really miss the excitement of the arrival of the books in January, the race to read and review them in February and March, the subsequent shortlisting process and the ceremony itself. I have met lots of brilliant writers and read loads of gorgeous short story collections - I feel really lucky to have been a part of the prize.
Photographs of the Edge Hill Prize Ceremony courtesy of Edge Hill.