Tuesday, 8 July 2014

And breathe

Last weekend I dragged the children and my husband to London and bored the socks off them with a long game of spot-the-tube-poster, followed by a visit to the Tate (the Tate was slightly better received - in part due to the large numbers of naked statues and paintings).

On Saturday evening I read at Word Factory which took place in Piccadilly Waterstones - a gorgeous shop - alongside two fantastic writers, Vanessa Gebbie and Val McDermid (who also sang, beautifully). Afterwards I went out for a meal with two school friends I hadn't seen for almost two decades, a lovely experience.

On Tuesday I attended Short Stories Aloud in Oxford and listened to work by myself and Kerry Hudson, performed by Julie Mayhew and Melissa Berry. Julie did the most incredible job of reading my story My Brother is Missing - she read it so well that it felt like it had been written by someone else.

On Thursday I attended the Edge Hill Prize award ceremony. The main prize was won by John Burnside whose collection Something Like Happy was outstanding. The readers' prize was won by Rachel Trezise with her confident, cosmopolitan collection, Cosmic Latte. I really enjoyed being a judge on the prize this year. All five of the shortlisted collections were excellent. I'll always remember Bernie McGill's beautiful title story 'Sleepwalkers' and the concluding story of Jaki McCarrick's dark and evocative collection The Scattering - 'The Jailbird', a gripping and horrifyingly funny depiction of a co-dependent mother and son. And I was fascinated by David Rose's wry, slightly off-kilter worlds in Posthumous Stories. It was a diverse and deserving shortlist.

After the Edge Hill Prize ceremony I hurried away to Literary Death Match at Foyles.

John Boyne won the death match with a very funny story about football (and Nick Harkaway, Anthony Anaxagorou and I all survived, which was good). 

On Saturday I read and signed copies of A Song for Issy Bradley at Formby Books

Yesterday I read and signed books at Chorley Library with Ebb & Flo Books

And that's it. I've finished my novel-related commitments until the autumn. Phew! 

Now I just need to make the corrections to my PhD poetics, start working with my WoMentoring mentees and prepare my presentation for the Sunstone Symposium in Utah on 1st August. Oh, and there's the small matter of a second novel, too... 

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