Vying for That 10th Spot

There’s a whole new world out there, and I’m not sure that I want to venture that far. But BREATH OF AFRICA is drawing me inexorably into the unknown. Don’t know whether at my ripe old age I’ll be able to keep the pace…

Excitement has been intense since the news of my book’s nomination for The Guardian First Book Award 2013.

Guardian First Book Award

My Author Page (Please, Oh please just go HERE and “Like” it? I still don’t entirely understand all the implications, but I’m assured it is important to gain as many “Likes” as possible. It’s all to do with Reach!)

What was I saying? Oh – the announcement on my Author Page achieved a Reach of over 1,000 people in the space of a week – such is the power of the internet. (Wish that could have translated into book sales, but if wishes were horses…)

But I digress. Back to that literary prize, pricking like a far off beacon in the fog. Mine is only a nomination, for the 10th spot, on the shortlist. The first nine have already been allocated – by the big publishers way out of Crooked Cat league.

The 10th spot is special. Through their website on 1st July, The Guardian called for nominations to be submitted by 14th July. They were especially looking for books from small Independent publishing houses who can’t afford the immense cost of vying for literary prizes. On the 15th July my publishers announced that Breath of Africa, and A guide to Becoming Distinctly Average had been nominated, and they were submitting copies to be assessed for a short list. My heart leapt, but my mind was far behind. I sent profuse thanks to Crooked Cat.

Oh no – they said – only the big publishers are asked to put forward their books. It wasn’t them who made the nomination. Must have been one of my reviewers. I still have no idea who it was.

These people in high places work fast. By 1st August, the short list will be decided. Will I make it? Will my heart survive the suspense? I’m glad there’s only a week to go. But it’s really only the long list … That final short list won’t be announced until November.

Meanwhile my wonderful friends are going bananas. Joyous expletives, exclamations of delight and ‘I’m not surprised;’ refined congratulations. Some scrambles to buy. Cries from countries far afield: ‘we’re still waiting to read your book – it’s not in the shops!’

But that’s another story –


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