Wednesday, 19 October 2016

I win a weighty prize!

Yesterday I had coffee (and a rather nice cookie) with Elise Valmorbida and we talked translation, writing in another language and the joys of taking yourself away to write. And that was good enough for me, but the reason why we met yesterday was even more wonderful:

I won a prize!

The trophy is an amazing object in itself - the real piece of letterpress from which my certificate was printed. It weighs a ton, and I can't quite move my fingers yet from carrying it home yesterday. It's sitting on my desk right now, making my day feel extremely splendid.

Winning this award was pretty much a complete surprise. Over a year ago I wrote a poem about the matron's mallet at the Foundling Museum. (I blogged about it here.) I read my poem there last autumn, and it was a pleasure.

I didn't really think about the poem again until a couple of weeks ago when an email pinged into my inbox telling me I'd been shortlisted by 26 for their award for the best piece of writing on a 26 project. Could I come to the annual 26 shindig, Wordstock, in case I won?

Sadly I couldn't as I already had plans. A few days later, sworn to secrecy, another email arrived. Could I possibly make a short acceptance video?

Good lord - I'd won!

Now winning an award is wonderful - even if you've read your work aloud to a polite audience and your mum says it's jolly good, it's hard to believe it really is worth anything (or at least I found it hard to believe it) until a team of judges picks it out and says, yes, we really like this!

So thank you, 26, I'm thrilled.

And thank you Elise, for that other huge positive of winning an award - getting to meet a wonderful writer and spend a seriously civilised morning together over coffee.

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