It is T-minus-1 day until Mslexia announces the winner of its inaugural novel prize.
Thank heavens that it is Valentine’s Day, and that we have visitors and a long list of things to do before tomorrow.
The pressure has been building over the last fortnight, since the short list was announced. I have oscillated between hope and despair, between anticipation and resignation; I have run the gamut of emotions from A to Z, and, some days, back again.
I don’t know if it’s because this is the first competition of this type that I’ve entered, but it all feels like a very big deal.
I know that my little novel, “Naming Names” is a tough read, and that it won’t be everybody’s cup of tea. I know that I am not a seasoned contender with experience of lots of writing competitions. I know that I am up against eleven other women writers, many of whom will have dedicated more time and energy, and, in some cases, considerable talent to writing the novel that has brought them this far in the Mslexia. And yet... And yet.
This book means something to me that I can’t explain. A complex set of circumstances conspired to cause me to consign this idea to a batch of document files in a folder on my desktop, circumstances that I could not have foreseen.
Writing this book changed me. Making these things real broke my heart, and, every time a reader responds to “Naming Names” my heart breaks a little again. And yet... And yet.
I am ready. I have a plan.
If I win the Mslexia, I am buying the husband and my friends lunch at our local ‘good’ restaurant.
If I lose the Mslexia the husband and my friends are buying me a burger in Lille.