Thursday 6 December 2012

The Cheshire Prize for Literature

Actually, the High Sheriff's Cheshire Prize for Literature - my mother insisted on writing down the full title of the prize so that she could tell people that... I won it. On Tuesday 4 December, unexpectedly and delightfully.

I'd been shortlisted for the prize once before, and published in the anthology three years ago, but this was my first time at the ceremony, nibbling my fingernails in a packed auditorium along with the other 269 entrants, waiting for the announcement of the winners. My 11yr old daughter was with me, determined that I should win, which added to the suspense. She's been to so many readings and evenings with me, always cheering me on. This time she did a little dance of joy and hustled her way into the photos, after dodging the camera two days earlier at my brother's wedding. I was very happy to be able to finally reward her cheerleading with a win.

Loyd Grossman read my story, Udumbara in Lytham St Anne's, and handed over a cheque for £2,000, after which I was "millionaire mum" all evening. The lovely judges said wonderful things about my story, a little snippet of which (in first draft form) I had read at ShortStoryVille in 2011. I think Dr Emma Rees, the mastermind (mistressmind?) behind the prize was a little taken aback when I hugged her hard for making my year, but really, she has. It's been a tough slog, 2012. If ever I needed a shot in the arm, it was now. And what a lovely shot this was.

Thank you, Dr Rees and everyone at Chester University involved in the running of the Prize. The runner up was Adam Green from Manchester for his story The Gift. Simon Gotts from St Asaph’s story Taidi’s Big Party and The Adventures of Him and Her by University of Chester student Hannah Riordan from Gloucester were highly commended. Congratulations to all!