I’ve been so busy the last few weeks that the first anniversary of the publication of my debut book, Looking Out of Broken Windows, whizzed past without me noticing. It only slammed into the forefront of my brain when the 2015 Edge Hill Prize longlist was announced last week and I discovered LOoBW is on it, alongside books from big names (Hilary Mantel, Rose Tremain, and A. L. Kennedy), fellow Salt authors (Stella Duffy, Carys Davies, and Kirsty Logan) and lots of other lovely folks.
Making the longlist got me thinking about all the other brilliant things that have happened to me as a direct result of my collection being published. Over the last twelve months or so I’ve been asked to appear on various literary festival panels, including the inaugural London Short Story Festival. I’ve run writing workshops all across the country focusing on the writing of the form I love, the short story. I’m sure my having a collection already published was a contributing factor to my receiving support from Writing East Midlands mentoring programme and it was WEM’s recommendation that then led to my being selected as a First Story writer-in-residence.
And the fringe benefits of publication don’t end there. Heading into the second year of my first book’s life, I have already been approached to speak at the NATE conference in the summer, will appear at the Wolds Words festival in Lincolnshire once again, this time leading a workshop on creating stories from characters, and just yesterday I was asked to appear at an event to support the brilliant Lincolnshire libraries. My little book has opened up so many more doors than I could have imagined this time last year.
It still feels exciting to have the book out there. It will always hold a special place in my writer’s heart (which of course comes complete with the requisite splinter of ice). Before I go, I’d like to publicly thank everyone who bought and/or read a copy, everyone who wrote a review, the Edge Hill Prize selection panel (for making my book’s birthday such a special one) and, last but definitely not least, Chris and Jen at Salt for taking on my stories and presenting them to the world in such a lovely package. You have all helped make my first year as a published author a great one. Onwards and upwards.