Some of you (Keith!?) may be wondering, now that I’ve hit the 1000 mark (1000 ‘followers’, which always sounds like a cult), whether I’ll be running another of my ‘random word’ story competitions and the answer is YES …but not quite yet.
I am busy reading entries for the Evesham Festival short story competition (which closes on 20th March), so until that’s all done and dusted, I can’t do anything else competition-related (not enough brain) but at the end of March I should be able to run a new random word comp, so watch this space!
And talking of competitions, I’ve got an article on ‘How to write a prize-winning short story’ on the ‘Nothing In the Rulebook’ website but (and the irony of this is not lost on me), today I discovered (when they announced the shortlist of 10) that my latest effort hasn’t made the cut in the ChipLitFest short story competition. Boo.
But here’s the thing about short story competitions (and I’m sure you’re well aware): they’re so subjective. When you throw your hat into the ring, you have no idea either what you’re up against, or what the judge is ultimately looking for.
You just have to write the best story you can, try to be original and hope the judge likes it. I still like my story and I’ll be zapping it off to another competition very soon.
Hilary MantelBBC Radio 4’s ‘Start The Week’ on Monday featured novelist Hilary Mantel, whose third book in the Wolf Hall trilogy (‘The Mirror and The Light’) has just been published. I listened to part of the interview as I was driving to Chipping Norton, for my Monday classes and it was fascinating (and I haven’t even read the books – although I’ve seen the first two novels as plays. Does that count?).
Anyway, the wonderful thing about ‘catch up’ is that you can …well, catch up! So, I’ve now listened to the whole 42 minute interview, which is here, if you’re interested.
Women’s Prize for Fiction
Here’s the Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist 2020, which has just been announced (and which, not surprisingly, features the aforementioned new Hilary Mantel novel).
There are writers’ tips on the website, by the way!
Apparently, the judges, chaired by Martha Lane Fox, read 152 novels to come up with their final 16. Phew, that’s a lot of reading!(I’m struggling to get through one novel at the moment).
How many on the list have you read? I have to admit, to my shame, that although the Maggie O’Farrell ‘Hamnet’ is on my TBR list, so far I haven’t read it – or any of the others, for that matter.
Here they are:
• Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara
• Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner
• Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
• Dominicana by Angie Cruz
• Actress by Anne Enright
• Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
• Nightingale Point by Luan Goldie
• A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes
• How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee
• The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo
• The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel
• Girl by Edna O’ Brien *
• Hamnet by Maggie O’ Farrell
• Weather by Jenny Offill
• The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
• Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson
*this is probably a terrible admission to make but I honestly didn’t realise Edna O’Brien was still writing. But she is. Good for her. And she’s 88. And here’s a review of ‘Girl’ which sounds great.