Sunday 9 January 2011

Round Up of 2010 - a bit late!

Top of the list has to be getting the Arts Council grant that allowed me to work with a superb writer, to shape and polish my 100,000 word pile of words. Enough to work with Maggie Gee for thirty hours - and that was split between full reads of manuscript, extensive comments, and face to face sessions usually at The British Library.
It wasn't without notes of sadness - the mentoring period had to be extended by six months in the end - the decline of my father, for whom the book was written, meant I had to focus on him for a while.
I finally sent it to my agent at the end of October, and had the fantastic but fantastic news within a couple of weeks that he loved it, didn't want any changes, and was going to send it out forthwith. By the end of November, there were two smashing publishers bidding for the book. After meeting them both, editors, sales teams, marketing teams, I decided to go with Bloomsbury UK and USA. And finally, finally, after eight years of slog, I am being paid something nice for my work. Yahoo! It's a bit invidious to say how much but 'solid five figure sum' seems to cover it.'The Coward's Tale' will hit the UK shelves in November this year, and the US shelves the following spring.

I spent a few wonderful weeks in Stockholm in the spring, teaching groups of students at the University. 'Short Circuit' was the intro here - and I used Freedom, the Anthology produced by Amnesty International, as a teaching text. I also led workshops in Ipswich at the University Campus Suffolk, in Exeter for Exeter Writers, and gave the annual Asham lecture at Sussex University.
My forays into the poetry world continue slowly. I was lucky enough to have poems selected for publication in the 2010 Ver Poets competition anthology, and in the WordAid poetry anthology to raise funds for Children In Need. I've had a few publications online - at the smashing place, Ink Sweat and Tears. A couple of poems were also shortlisted at Bridport.
Ive had work published in 100 Stories for Haiti, and was asked to write the introduction for 50 Stories for Pakistan.
I've had three marvellous stays at Anam Cara, where most of the novel has been written.


  1. Well done - what a fantastic year. I'm glad you are exploring poetry further - I loved the foetuses poem of yours on ink sweat and tears.

  2. Great to see this post, Vanessa, such an inspiration for anyone working in this business, to see how long it can take and how it can all come better than good in the end. Many many congratulations, and I can't wait to read The Coward's Tale. x

  3. So sorry about your father. A close frind is going through a similar situation with a parent whilst trying to complete a phd. Very hertbreaking.

    But congratulations on all your writing achievements and I'm looking forward to reading the book.

  4. 2011 will be hard pressed to top 2010, but somehow, I bet you'll do it!

  5. Wow, what a year. Well done.