Well, another year done and what a year. 2015 kicked of with the arrival of the results of my MA Creative Writing and I was thrilled, after three years of work, to receive a Distinction. In April, around the anniversary of its publication, my debut collection of short stories, Looking Out of Broken Windows, was longlisted for the Edge Hill Prize. The month of May saw my story ‘Free Hardcore’ appear in the pages of Unthology 7 and a few weeks later it was my genuine pleasure to read with my fellow Unthologists at the Unthology 7 launch at a Project U event in Norwich. June also saw the publication of Writing Outside the Box, an anthology of writing by the students of Banaovallum School in Lincolnshire that I edited as part of my role as First Story writer-in-residence.
July was a particularly busy month: Driver and the Beautiful Highway, a short film based on my short story of the same title, went into production; I won second prize in the 2015 Bath Short Story Award with my story ‘Dancing to the Shipping Forecast; The Lonely Crowd published my short story ‘The Old Fashioned Hat’; I helped out at the fantastic First Story Summer Residential 2015 from which I returned home to find a Society of authors grant award waiting for me in the post.
September saw the launch of the Being Dad Kickstarter which achieved its goal a few short weeks later. I also completed a story for inclusion in Unthank Books’ The End anthology and short story expert Charles C May said some lovely things about my Best British Short Stories 2012 story ‘Half-mown Lawn‘. Halloween saw the publication of the 2015 Wales Arts Review Halloween Special which, amongst other delights, included my story ‘Jake of the Lantern’. Finally, the year was rounded off with my being honoured to receive a Royal Society of Literature Brookleaze grant, and, though I was unable to make the launch of the Bath Short Story Award Anthology 2015, I was thrilled to be interviewed on the Award’s website.
As for the year to come, I am thrilled to be one of the judges for the 2016 East Midlands Book Award and am currently enjoying making my way through the submitted titles in a effort, along with fellow judge Janet Streeter, to compile the shortlist. I am also looking forward to the publication in the spring of both The End anthology, which will feature my story All the TVs in the Town, and Being Dad: stories of fatherhood, which will feature my story A Father’s Arms. Lastly, in the next few days, I will put the finishing touches on my application to study for a PhD in Creative Writing. Hopefully this will be successful and 2016 will be the start of new and exciting period of my writing life.
So here’s to the New Year bringing each and everyone of us exactly what we want and what we need. Happy New Year all.