Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

A post is overdue.  Apologies.

Life has been a little crazy, and it’s a busy time at work (my full time job) as Christmas approaches.  And in my other life, my writing life, there is also a lot going on.

I entered the Costa Short Story Award.  I’m a really big fan of their coffee and I had a short story so I thought “Why not?”.  I entered and then spent two months in agony while waiting for the shortlist.  The Costa Awards are a big deal.  They started their life as the Whitbread Literary Awards in 1971 and then became known as the Whitbread Book Awards in 1985.  In 2006, Costa took over the sponsorship and they became known as the Costa Book Awards. 

For the first time this year they had a short story category which was fantastic news for me.  For the books (for which there are five categories) you have to be previously published.  For this new, short story category, you need not be.  It is open to everyone, published or unpublished.  Everyone starts from a level playing field because it is judged anonymously.  You don’t put your name anywhere in your story’s document and the readers and judges don’t know if they are reading Martin Amis or Fred Bloggs.  That’s fair, but daunting simply because Martin Amis can enter, and if he does, he might stand a better chance.

Anyway, despite being very confident and proud of my story, I did not make the shortlist of 6 that were chosen from a longlist of 60.  Whether I made the 60 will never be known as Costa will not reveal the list, quoting the fact that it was not chosen unanimously but put together in pieces by several “readers” and not the official judges as their reason.  At least, that is the gist as I understand it, and no amount of cajoling will persuade Costa to budge. 

Anyway, you can read the 6 finalists here and vote for the one you like.  Since mine is not there (this year – watch this space!) then I don’t care which.

Despite feeling crushed initially, I have quickly got over it.  I am comparatively new to the writing contest world (don’t know why I came to it so late!) but I am totally focussed now and have a lot of things in my sights. 

I will keep you all posted on my endeavours.  I welcome comments and stories from anyone about your writing adventures, competition entries – good tales and bad.  Or just post about anything relating to issues that are raised in my blog, or about you in general.  Please use the comments facility.   

Oh, and another episode of “Miry Clay” will be on here later today.