Unsurprisingly I love reading as well as writing, but I am incredibly fussy about what I read. God I really am awful; judgemental, bitchy, impatient. Sometimes on this very blog I have moaned about how I yearn to be moved, inspired, delighted or even just entertained by the stories I read, and yet I am so often disappointed. As a writer who is starting to submit to competitions and magazines I am keen to read those who have previously been published in the ‘zines or comps. I promise that I don’t start from a sneery position, I genuinely wish to be impressed. More often than not I am left feeling very blah about it, and truly wondering what I am missing that the editors saw. Then one day I read the winning entry of a competition at Cadenza by Vanessa Gebbie called ‘Yellow diggers, dead crows, gifts” and it was all that I aspire to as a short story writer. Beautiful, moving, precise prose. So, I googled her name, found her blog and left her a message.
Which was when I began to discover how generous she is as a writer. She visited my blog and offered to critique a story I was moaning about. We left messages back and forth, and eventually she invited me to join her online collective for intermediate literary fiction writers “The Fiction Workhouse”. I honestly feel that it is only now that my writing can move on to the next level, and a lot of that is to do with Vanessa. She teaches, nurtures, discusses, explains. I don’t always agree with her but wow, she’s great to disagree with too, she’ll listen and reconsider and argue with passion.
Anyway, she has got plenty going on: a short story collection coming out next year, she came first this year in The Daily Telegraph Novel competition, she is working on her debut novel and now, fanfare please:
She has placed second in The Bridport Prize.
I just wanted to say huge, warm congratulations to a brilliant and lovely writer.