Well I didn’t win the Manchester Prize but a young writer Martin MacInnes did and to my mind he was a very talented and worthy winner. It was good evening, not without it’s tensions of course, because although it’s a privilege to be shortlisted, it’s still quite an ordeal going to such an event and coming out the other end in one piece. For the winner it’s a huge high I know, for the losers it’s inevitably deflating. All that adrenalin and nowhere for it to go. For me, insomniac that I am, this meant watching Manchester’s still buzzing nightlife at 4am from the hotel bedroom window.
One of the best things about the evening was meeting the other shortlisted writers, especially Martin and Adrian, and sharing the nerves. Meeting the judges, Nicholas Royle, Claire Dean and Christopher Burns was especially good too. They were approachable, friendly and enthusiastic and very surprised they told me to discover, when the authors were revealed*, that I was from the UK and not the USA. This was due to the southern, Arkansas, White River voice of Alice, the young woman in my story, the voice which according to Claire jumped off the page at her after a long night spent reading stories (mine was in her pile).
My personal highlight was getting to read two and half minutes worth of Alice’s story Eating Words in the impressive surroundings of Chetham’s Baronial Hall. Hard to beat that experience. If you’d like to read my story you can download it by clicking on the LINK HERE
Now I need a rest but I’m really looking forward to getting back to writing and to the novella workshop on Saturday.
* The competition was judged blind as all good short story competitions should be.
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