I've blogged before about the debt I owe to Vanessa Gebbie, a terrific writer and a generous friend. In 2008, when we'd really only just met, she persuaded me to travel to West Cork for the Fish anthology launch, providing transport and her companionship. One of the most memorable trips of my writing life, and I loved every minute of it. She subsequently invited me to join her online writing group, where I learnt a tremendous amount, and never stinted in her encouragement - of me and other aspiring writers. When I signed with Jane Gregory, she was one of the first to cheer (and she blogged about it).
In November 2011, Vanessa's tender and original novel, The Coward's Tale, was published by Bloomsbury. Since then, it's been named Novel of the Year by AN Wilson in the Financial Times, published in paperback and in the US. Now it's up for the Guardian's Not the Booker prize, which is designed to celebrate the many great novels that miss out on the Booker.
If, like me, you've read and enjoyed The Coward's Tale, you'll want to dash over there and vote for Vanessa to be on the shortlist, which will be announced next week. To vote, you will need to register (free) with the Guardian and be signed in to your account there. Then you need to post a 100 word review here (where you can also buy the book, if you haven't already) and link to it on the voting page. Let's get Vanessa on the shortlist!