Friday 26 March 2010

My week in words

Thank you to everyone who sent kind wishes and congratulations on the Sense Award, including Pat Jourdan, an Irish writer whose stories I love and reviewed here. Even Pat's emails are wonderfully written: 'Dear Sarah - hooray! This is how life ought to be, writing doing something for other people AND the writer being celebrated. Congratulations. And Miriam Margolyes has such a gritty-with-honey voice too. These bright milestones (well, they do certainly gleam in the sunlight) make up for all the other times when we think we are mad to be going on writing.'

Kristie Lagone, editor of Literary Fever, Brian Lister at Biscuit Publishing, Ra Page at Comma Press and Roland Goity at LITnIMAGE all sent warm words, too. Not to mention friends and family. (My mother's so proud and I'm not too old to appreciate the pleasure of having made her feel that way.)

Today, I'm restarting my full-time life as a writer. For six months I've worked hard elsewhere, but today it all begins again. Writing, full-time. It gives me courage and makes me glad, to know that so many people share in this adventure - and so generously. And now, as Pat Jourdan says, 'Back to the drawing-board with you for more.'

Saturday 20 March 2010

Miriam Margolyes reads my story!

The most exciting news from last week: I attended the Sense Creative Awards at the Geffyre Museum in London on Thursday. Sense is the UK's leading deafblind charity and the Awards celebrate writing by the deafblind as well as writing about the condition. I was privileged to hear some inspirational pieces written by the most amazing children and adults. Miriam Margolyes read various extracts - and the whole of my shortlisted story, A Shanty for Sawdust and Cotton.

Without exception this was the most thrilling experience of my writing life to date. Miriam is a terrific actress and didn't so much read as perform my story, wonderfully. I had goosebumps as I listened. To hear her announce I was the winner was... just so special. When I thanked her for reading so wonderfully, she said, 'Thank you for writing it so wonderfully,' and my day was complete. Such an amazing award to win, a real honour. I feel blessed.

Sense's PR team are hard at work already, sending a press release to the local media in which they quote Miriam as saying, 'My work is about bringing to life the words on a page. These are powerful words that speak volumes about the very difficult challenges that deafblind people face every day. There’s a compelling quality that draws in the reader and gives voice to these challenges.'

The event was filmed and I've been promised an MP3 audio file of Miriam's reading, which I will post here in due course. For now, colour me very, very happy.