Grindstone Literary Ltd 2020 International Novel Prize

I was wondering why my phone was bombarded with tweets yesterday, I didn’t check what they were at the time as I was having a conversation with my better half in a café, a rare treat, and I didn’t want to interrupt that. And then I got home, and…. well, you could have knocked me over with a feather. I’d forgotten I’d entered this wonderful, fairly new competition. And then to see my name, and the name of my novel, presented like this, I couldn’t believe it. Just last week I’d finished a truly gruelling ten month editing slog getting Seagull Pie ready for submission to The Literary Consultancy for manuscript assessment and mentorship (part of my prize for winning The Bridport Prize First Novel Award) and then I came down with my expected physical crash, bedridden for nearly a week. Well, as you can imagine, this news perked me up quite considerably! There are some exceptional writers on the short and long list so I am truly honoured to have won. Catherine Cho was the judge, an agent at the prestigious Madeleine Milburn Agency.

This really does feel like an extraordinary end to an extraordinary year. In some ways I have been lucky, focussing on editing the novel has given me some respite from the pandemic. Some structure to my day. It’s not been easy, although I’ve so far managed to avoid COVID, my health has had many unpleasant twists and turns, but I was so glad I had this one thing calling me, every day, this story that means so much to me.

Thank you all at Grindstone Literary for your hard work in this competition, and to all those who have said such lovely things on hearing my news.