The Northern Writers' Awards pretty much changed everything when I won the Arvon Award back in 2017, introducing me to new writing buddies, giving me the chance to participate in an Arvon course, and signing with an agent.
That agent and I have since parted company – quite common, I've discovered – but the impact of that win remains massive – on my writerly confidence, if nothing else.
In the latest iteration of the Northern Writers' Awards, I flung my novel, Out of Human Sight, into the ring for the NorthBound Book Award category which gives the winner a publishing deal with Saraband (the publisher behind His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet, which I adored). It didn't win but, unbelievably, it was shortlisted, which has given me all the fire I need to keep-on-keeping-on.
So what did win? Well, I was very pleased to see that Adam Farrer, editor at The Real Story and purveyor of excellent essays, with an enviable knack for dark humour, and his latest essay collection took home first prize. Cold Fish Soup will be published in August 2022 and I will certainly be lining up for a copy.