Not long ago I wrote a piece about writing competitions and so I thought it only fitting to share my first shortlisting, for the 2016 Just Write Creative Writing competition, run in association with Writing Magazine and John Murray Press.A big draw for me when deciding to enter this competition was the prize – six shortlisted authors were to be invited to a reception at Hodder HQ. In July I received an email to tell me that I had made the shortlist and was invited to come along on the 18th August for the announcement of the winner.
So, to last Thursday. We were asked to arrive for 3.30pm at the Hodder offices (which are far nicer than the office I work in) to meet the other shortlisted authors and some of the lovely people at Hodder and Writing Magazine who were had liked our stories. After getting to know everyone briefly we were then taken off one by one to be interviewed. On camera! It wasn’t as bad as it sounds – we had been sent the questions in advance which took care of any awkward silences, though I will not be watching myself back whenever the video appears!
We were also given a goody bag which I will go out on a limb for and say was the best goody bag I’ve ever been given. Books, a literary map (which is about to go on the wall in my writing space), a very handy notebook, pens, everything a writer needs basically, and one can never have enough tote bags.
At 6pm we went up to the roof terrace for the party itself. From Victoria Embankment the view is absolutely incredible, especially enjoyable with a glass of champagne in hand. Even the weather was well-behaved. We had time to mingle with ‘proper’ authors (as opposed to ‘aspiring’ which is the category that I place myself in), editors, lots of people who all seemed genuinely interested in us and our stories. Then came the big announcement: the winner was Emma Myatt for her story Wordsmith.
To cap off an amazing day, our stories had been printed into paperback books, Emma having the unique hardback copy to celebrate her success. I even had my first taste of signing copies for people!
If you would like to see more about our day, and read the short stories, you can find them on this page of the Just Write website.