Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Fish!


I'm just back from Bantry, still on a high from the amazing buzz that was the Fish Anthology launch. I had an incredible time, more socialising in two days than I usually do in a year and every minute of it a joy. The people are fantastic, the organisers especially. Big shout out to Clem Cairns, and Lorraine and to Jock. You guys are just so lovely. And the writers! The writers were terrific. It was such a warm experience to spend time with other people who are working on novels and stories, writers on the cusp of big things and those who've made it. Never mind the wind turbines on the horizon, you could have powered a small town with the enthusiasm and adrenalin that was generated in just 24 hours. And I was only there for one whole day, the Monday. Lucky lucky people who were staying for the week. The buzz was building and could only get better.

Highlights? Well, of course the launch ceremony on Monday night when I read my winning story. I had a couple of dry runs in my room, and it went off well on the night. Several people came up afterwards and said they thought I'd read it beautifully. One lovely lady with a two year old in tow said it was her favourite story of the whole night. I was just bowled over by the reception to it. I was asked to sign a few copies of the anthology, which was such an incredible feeling, to be a part of something so big, so important to the writing world.

I stayed up past midnight both nights, for the bedtime story sessions, which were open mike with people reading poems and stories, including the collaborative flash story led by Vanessa Gebbie with a new 100 words added by a different writer every night.

On the second night, after a champagne supper with Vanessa and six other writers, all wonderfully warm and funny women, I was stopped by a lady on my way out of the hotel at just gone midnight. She congratulated me on the win and asked me lots of very serious questions about my writing, what I was working on and who I was reading. I was fairly myopic with fatigue by this stage but still buzzy, and we talked about Patricia Highsmith and Lizzie Borden and so on. I found out later she was an agent, which made me wish I'd given more intelligent - or at least coherent - answers to her questions.

I must mention Vanessa Gebbie's reading of the winning one-page story, an incredible story by Michael Logan. I'd loved the story when I read it in the book but hearing Vanessa read it out loud was a real treat, an experience I wouldn't have missed for the world. I hope she will record the reading and send a copy to Michael because it really is something special.

Thanks again, Vanessa, for encouraging me to go to Bantry. I had the best, most amazing time. I'm now planning all the stories I will enter for the Fish 2009 contests in the hope of making it over to Ireland again next year.

8 comments:

Tania Hershman said...

Wow, it sounds like an amazing experience, good for you for going and for reading, all that mingling with other writers must have been heavenly! Fingers crossed we can all meet up there next year, I'd better get writing.....

Sarah Hilary said...

It was, Tania, thanks! Yes do please get writing - and entering for 2009. I met Sue by the way from the writers' retreat and she sent her best wishes to you. She's lovely, isn't she?

Nik's Blog said...

Sounds like you had a terrific time! Wonderful.

Nik

Sarah Hilary said...

Thanks, Nik, yes it was amazing. I'm still high!

Anne Brooke said...

Fabulous - well done you! Sounds amazing.

:))

A
xxx

Sarah Hilary said...

Thanks, Anne, yes it was. I'm still on a high now. *g*

Lit Flood said...

That all sounds lovely, which reminds me, I must get writing and submitting to Fish...

Big big congratulations Sarah.

Sarah Hilary said...

Hi Lit Flood (is it Chelsey from the WH?), and thanks. Good luck with the writing and subbing. It really is the most terrific buzz.