A win for historical fiction – and me!

Collecting the trophy!

Having seen my historical short story Silver Harvest shortlisted several times without ever making the winners’ enclosure, I was beginning to suspect that even if competitions were ‘welcoming’ all genres, there was a reluctance to give the overall prize to a historical piece. I’m happy to say my suspicions have been allayed , since on Friday night The Bird of Wax (from the same series as SH) took the adult prize at the Evesham Festival of Words.

The prize was presented at the official opening of the festival which featured a talk by writer and food supremo (suprema?)  Prue Leith who explained just how hard writing can be and how much she had to learn to get a novel published.


Prue Leith signing books


(Comforting to know even proven celebs have to put in the hours!)

However the main judge for the competition was acclaimed short story writer Vanessa Gebbie, whose work I’ve always admired, so that was very pleasing indeed, as are her comments, published with the story  in the festival anthology:



‘I enjoyed so much about this piece – the voice, the characters, the fascinating details which painted the era so well … I found the ending rather poignant and charged with hope.’

Vanessa also admits to googling my characters to find out more, which I think is a good sign! In fact of the shortlisted stories, two others are also historical. So at least one competition judge is in favour of period pieces – fingers crossed this is a growing trend.


Evesham booty

Virginia Prize Longlist

v_wolfHaving heard last week that I had missed the shortlist for the Virginia Prize, the news I had made the longlist (which came a few days later) didn’t seem a lot to cheer about. But maybe it was just the weather that was making me glum. This is the only competition I have entered with The Water’s Edge and it may not have got far, but it did get somewhere. And it’s still a first draft.

Not only that, but   aurora metro, who are running the award,  express an interest in anything I write in the future. Another first from a publisher!

I have also looked more closely at their current list which is strong in Young Adult fiction (which is where I now think The Water’s Edge may well end up) and  features a number of established writers including  Pat Swindells, Germaine Greer and Meera Syal.

Well, if I am a potential member of this list, things are definitely looking up! It will be interesting to see what kind of book wins the prize, which is to be presented next weekend by Fay Weldon.

Picture notes: Portrait of Virginia Wolf by George Charles Beresford (public domain)