Here's the CWMatters team before the ceremony on Saturday. We are in St Stephen's church that's right in the middle of Exeter High Street. A fabulous venue, newly restored and the perfect place for our inaugural prize-giving.
Ben Bradshaw is quite tall! It isn't that the three of us are spectacularly short but I did feel it as we were having this photo taken.
Do we look too pleased with ourselves? Probably, but there was also considerable anxiety. Would anyone come? Could those on the short list find it? Would I say the wrong thing, drop the trophy, fall up the two steps onto the staging?
All of that, but I needn't have worried. Even though I forgot all about the trophy in my excitement when Broo announced that Su's novel, Sealskin had won, it was a very happy occasion.
Exeter Writers have been absolutely brilliant. Not only did they sponsor the award by forking out the first prize money, they also worked very hard on Saturday behind the scenes. It was fantastic that we were able to launch the latest Exeter Writers anthology after the ceremony.
The Coastal Zoo contains all the winning stories from the past five years of the short story competition as well as contributions from members of the group. It's available via the Exeter Writers website. Go HERE
It's the season of awards and whether it's a Bafta, an Oscar or an RNA award, what they all have in common is the frocks, the photos and the ceremony.
On Monday evening I attended the Romantic Novelists' Assocation awards at the amazing Gladstone Library No 1 Whitehall Place, and had all my fingers and toes crossed for Margaret James who was short listed for her fabulous romantic comedy, The Wedding Diary. Here she is in the line-up. We were very stoic when the announcements were made! To be short listed is to win - as a judge of competitions I am a firm believer in the this statement. Different day, different reader and someone else wins. That's how it goes.
After the lovely (and tiny) Darcey Bussell presented the trophies we were treated to a very funny speech by Helen Fielding (author of Bridget Jones' Diary). It is a rare author who does not have a collection of rejection tales to gladden the heart of the likes of me.
This Saturday it's the Exeter Novel Prize award ceremony and I don't know whose novel our esteemed judge, Broo Doherty is going to chose to take home the trophy but the splendid six on our short list are all winners. Congratulations to Joan Brennan, Su Bristow, Barbara Hudson, Heather Reed, Anne Summerfield and Sonya Weiss.
Bang the drum and blow some trumpets! Toot-tootle-toot!
May I introduce...
Three short stories about cats from the team here at HQ. Here's the blurb on Kindle :
Three cool cats - three cool tales. Is Henry anything but a nuisance? Will Pudding find a friend? And why hasn't that Siamese got a name?
Find out in these light-hearted stories by three award-winning authors. Purr-fect!
Did you know that there are more than two and a half million books on Kindle now? Isn't that amazing? It's also terrifying. How on earth can our little book swim to the top of such a busy sea? There's only one way, folks, and that's up to you.
The award ceremony for the Exeter Novel Prize is approaching fast. If you are in Exeter on Saturday 22nd March, it would be lovely to see you. We will be at St Stephen's Church, next to House of Fraser from 2pm. Exeter Writers are launching their latest anthology at the event too. Take a look HERE for information.