This year was the second time I’d applied for a Northern Writers’ Award, and I’ve just had an email to say that, while I’ve been unsuccessful again, this time I did get shortlisted. As well as that encouraging news, the email also included some lovely comments from the judges about my writing. I submitted an extract of the first draft of my current work-in-progress, Uncle Raymond.

So, thank you very much Elise Dillsworth and Richard T Kelly for these supportive words about the writing in my new novel:

‘I commend this writer for the assurance of the first-person voice in this entry, and the mingled humour and poignancy that are achieved along the way. The metaphors of the stage, performance and ‘magic’ that denoted the protagonist’s developing sense of self were very adroitly employed.’

‘An engaging and poignant read. Strong voice and great use of perspective which made the storyline feel fresh.’

I’m also grateful to Will Mackie for the email and to New Writing North as an organisation. They do a lot of excellent work in the North of England to promote reading and writing here.

I submitted a different part of Uncle Raymond to The Bridge Emerging Writer and won that. It’s very encouraging to have two different sections of the new novel recognised. It really does make this book feel worth writing!

I guess I had better stop writing this blog, then, and get on with doing just that. I’m still working out the details of my ‘tailor-made’ writing support package with Moniack Mhor. When that’s all settled, I’ll blog about what I’m going to use the prize for and I’ll let you know how my year of writing adventures goes!

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