I've set up this blog so that all my friends, relations and colleagues in the world of writing can keep up to speed with what I'm doing - from now on, I'll never have to say sorry for not keeping in touch.

Or anyway, that's the plan.

So do please link up with me on Facebook and Twitter - https://www.facebook.com/margaret.james.5268 and https://twitter.com/majanovelist

You can find my novels as digital downloads on Apple iTunes, Kobo, Kindle and Nook, and most are available as print paperbacks, too.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Exeter Novel Prize - the Long List

Yes, it's a while since I've posted anything on this blog, so what have I been doing?

I've been reading - thousands and thousands and thousands of words, because of course all the entries were read from the first word to the last - for the Exeter Novel Prize 2015.  This will be awarded at a ceremony in Exeter in March 2016.  The ceremony is a public event to be held in the historic St Stephen's Church in the centre of Exeter on 12 March at 3 pm, and everyone is welcome!

Today, the long list is posted on the CreativeWritingMatters website, which you can find at http://www.creativewritingmatters.co.uk/.

So how did we (the members of the CreativeWritingMatters team, Cathie Hartigan, Sophie Duffy and I) choose the long list?

We read in a spirit of optimism. We hoped every entry would deliver a great story written in an engaging voice which was right for its genre or sub-genre. This isn't to say we were looking for genre fiction only - please don't think that! Literary, commercial, traditional, experimental - we were looking for excellent writing that invited us into the world of the story and made us want to stay there.  We wanted to be sad when we found we'd read a whole entry and couldn't read any more.

We looked for stories which seemed likely to keep their promises - which asked interesting questions and suggested their authors would offer readers satisfying resolutions.

There were quite a few entries which did these things very successfully but didn't make the final long list. Those below are the entries which also had that very special something.

We're relieved we don't have to choose the short list, which is London literary agent Broo Doherty's job!

Congratulations to the authors of the entries listed below.

We will be revealing the names of the authors when we announce the short list. All the reading and judging is done anonymously. So, if your own entry is there, please don't shout out yet!

A Mole of Sorts
A place at Tumaini
Cloud Cover
Down by the Riverside
Going Back
Holly and Ivy
Large is the Smallest We've Got
Orphaned Leaves
Prodigal Honey
Scotch on the Rocks
Strangers on a Bridge
The Chernobyl Privileges
The Fastest Girl in Red Hook
The Last Tiger
The Staircase on Calle Mayor
The Whole Truth