Tuesday 3 December 2013

A writer, counting blessings

Recently a few small things have pleased me no end. They really have. They all add together and contribute to the bigger picture.
Northern Venetians
I was extraordinarily pleased to be involved in this project. Partly because I was commissioned, partly because I’m rubbing shoulders with some significant people and partly because I’m growing rather fond of producing these very short texts.
I asked my colleagues to see if they could spot my text. One managed straight away – she recognised my style and a reference within the text. Another colleague is still puzzling it out.
Can you spot my work here? Because it’s nearly Christmas I’ll send you a signed copy of one my books if you spot it. You choose which!
Charity recipe book
One of my students is putting together a poetry-and-recipe book for a cancer charity.  More detailsl here. I’m helping her to get her call for submissions out and I’ve said I’ll make a contribution.
“Great to have a professional author,” she says. Nice to be recognised as such. Plus I’ve really enjoyed watching Nigel Slater on the telly, writing a poem about him – and I don’t normally do poems but I’ve enjoyed doing this one – and putting together a recipe in a creative way. Next week I shall cook this dish again so that I can take a photograph.  They want photos for the art work.  
Article on the BDM magazine
A 7,000 word article about the magazine written for the Bund Deutscher Mädel, the girls' part of the Hitler Youth, has been accepted by a solid academic journal and published in time for the forthcoming REF. It’s the crystallization of months, maybe years, of work and it’s a proud line on my academic CV.  It’s really useful that I read German fluently.       
The Best Christmas Present in the World
Michael Morpurgo and Virginia McKenna gave an excellent reading of this at the Lowry on 17 November. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Almost as much, when I queued up afterwards , was I delighted as eyes popped at the meet and greet when I introduced myself to Michael Morpurgo and mentioned that I’d edited Hipp-0-Dee-Doo-Dah, to which he wrote the foreword and that we’d been in  Lines in the Sand together. Eyes grew even rounder when I said “Say hello to Virginia McKenna for me.”  I’ve co-edited another book, Gentle Footprints, to which she wrote the foreword.
But most of the joy came from watching their “performance” and knowing that this was actually part of my work and isn’t my work a joy?
Planned project
I have a project brewing. It will involve me and three other writers. And some very short fiction. I really can’t say any more – I haven’t approached the others yet. I’m fairly confident they’ll say yes. Fingers crossed, though.  
Just thinking about it is very exciting.
So, I’m still waiting for the big break, the best seller, the exquisitely written novel, the one that will rock the world. But the above are significant steps on the way.               

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