Cursed Covid…

Every cloud has a silver lining, so they say and in this case, the cloud is COVID – which has finally got me – and the silver lining is, that as I’m stuck at home and everything’s cancelled, I’ve got time for a quick post.

We were in London at the weekend (first time in over two years, also first time on a train in that long too) and although we were as careful as we could be (no underground, we took taxis, for example), that is probably where I picked it up.

I don’t feel too bad, so it’s a pain more than anything. My mum’s ill again and I can’t go and see her, obviously, so I’m directing operations (two carers, my brother and OH) from here and I feel horribly guilty (and bossy!). But there you go, there’s nothing I can do until the little red line disappears and says I am ‘covid free’.

We went to London to see ‘Harry Potter & The Cursed Child’ at the Palace Theatre, which was brilliant. It was something we’ve wanted to see for years, so although it was very hot (last Friday, was a scorcher, as you may remember) and the play is in two parts – afternoon and evening – totalling over 5 hours – it was definitely worth seeing (if you’re a HP fan, I hasten to add. If you’re not, you’d probably wonder what all the fuss is about).

Joan Hessayon Award 2022

Since I last posted, I’ve been announced as a ‘contender’ (that sounds like the TV programme ‘Gladiators’. Do you remember? ‘Contenders, ready?’) in the RNA’s Joan Hessayon Award 2022.

The award is for authors whose debut novels went through the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme and were then subsequently accepted for publication. So… shhh, I haven’t done much more than ‘qualify’ for this award HOWEVER, I am very happy to be one of the nine authors whose books are being considered for the prize (by published RNA authors and publishing industry professionals, no less!). If you’re interested in finding out more – and seeing all the contenders – they’re listed here, on Being Anne’s blog.

They all sound brilliant, don’t they?! I shall have to start practising my “No, I don’t mind at all and I’m thrilled for the winner!” face.

All being well (I have to keep saying that because everything keeps going haywire and I don’t want to jinx myself), I’ll be at the RNA’s Gala dinner in July, as part of the conference, when the winner of the Joan Hessayon Award will be announced. Eeek, my stomach just did a little flip at the thought of it! Scary but also fun to be involved.

Evesham Festival of Words

And finally, one last plug for the Festival, which is coming up very soon (1st – 3rd July). It’s the last one that I’ll be so involved in, as I’m stepping down from the Steering Group after July (no time!).

On Friday 1st Jane Bettany and I are talking about our paths to (novel) publication and how it’s ‘Never Too Late’. Getting published, writing novels, the highs and lows of being published, whether you need an agent, why it took us so long to write our first novels, second novel syndrome… we’ll be talking about all that kind of stuff and there’ll be plenty of time to ask questions, so if you fancy that, all the details are here (only £6 for a ticket!). And the venue is an easy walk from the station, if you want to come by train.

Following on from our event is an author talk with Amanda Reynolds, who wrote ‘Close to Me’ which was turned into a TV drama for Channel 4.

On the evening of Friday 1st, my friend Chris and I are running the quiz night and there’s still room for a couple more teams (max 4 people). And, for various reasons, we haven’t even started to put the quiz together but we’re not panicking at all, not at all…

And over the weekend, there are a couple of writing workshops – Write Funny, with Fran Hill – and a Travel Writing workshop with Simon Whaley – which might be of interest. No writing experience required, if you just fancy flexing your creative muscles and having some fun. It’ll all be very relaxed and there’s a max of 15 people in each session. I’m going along to both of those, so if you’re there too, say hello!

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16 Responses to Cursed Covid…

  1. Pamela Wray says:

    Great news about the Joan Hessayon nomination – Good Luck!
    Pam x


    Sorry to hear you have Covid, but good news about your nomination. In other news, two members of our writing group were shortlisted in the Evesham 50 word competition you highlighted.

    • That’s great news, Margaret, thanks for letting me know. They hadn’t initially announced the shortlist but I gave them a gentle nudge and said that people like to see if they’ve made it to the shortlist, even if they didn’t win!

  3. Philippa Bowe says:

    Sorry you caught Covid Helen, but glad it’s not making you really ill. And huge congrats for the award nomination, that’s such great news! 😁​👏​🌟​
    PS. Am working on a story and that pic you posted of the gladiators feeds into it so well, thank you the inspiration!

    • Thanks Philippa! I am intrigued by the fact that the Gladiators picture feeds into your story!

      • It’s a flash about a woman who starts off thin and in the centre of things then gradually gets fatter through life and is shunted to the margins…that pic resonated as a good illustration of her younger status (not literally, with those costumes, of course!).

  4. Congrats over being a contender for the RNA award!
    And sympathy over you catching Covid 😦

  5. Eirin Thompson says:

    Fantastic news about your nomination, Helen! Congratulations! Wishing both you and your mum a speedy recovery, too.

  6. Linda says:

    Congratulations on your nomination. Will have my fingers crossed for you. Sorry to hear you’ve got the dreaded Covid, at least now we’re all vaccinated the effects of it are much less although it did make me feel very tired. So give yourself time to recover even thought it sounds like you’ve got a lot on!

  7. Kate Hogan says:

    Well done on your nomination, Helen! I was delighted to hear how many of copies of your great book you’d sold in one of your other posts. I bought it, read, it, reviewed it, loved it – managed to get it in our library, too. Good luck. Glad you’re feeling beter. Hope your mum is feeling better, too. Good wishes. Kate Hogan.

    • Thank you so much, Kate. And sorry it’s taken a while to reply to you. Your support for my book has been amazing and I am very grateful! I don’t even think it’s in my local library. I will have to do something about that when I get home!

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