Less than two weeks after the launch of my book, The Chalkies: Educating an army for independence, I received a phone call to tell me that I had won first prize in the Roly Sussex Short Story Award for 2016. What’s more if I turned up at Government House, Brisbane, the following Tuesday, the State Governor would present me with the award. And so he did. Paul de Jersey AC shook my hand at an impressive ceremony on 18 October and congratulated me as he presented me with the trophy and a cheque.
My short story, The space between, is a fictionalised account of a woman waiting for her husband when he fails to return from an attempt to be first to fly across the Atlantic, and is based on actual events, as they say in the movies. The title comes from a Celtic belief that there is only three feet between heaven and earth, and that in ‘thin places’, the distance is even less.
The national competition is run by the Queensland Branch of the English Speaking Union, and the award is named after a well-known Professor of Linguistics at Queensland University, Roly Sussex. I am honoured to have won the award.
Unfortunately, no photography was permitted inside Government House, but the photo below shows me with Ann Garms, the ESU (Qld) President, on the steps of this impressive building, after the ceremony. (The sight of me in a suit may come as a shock to family and friends, but that is indeed me.)
It was good to meet with other writers who were runners up or had been highly commended in the competition, which has both adult and school student categories.
The English Speaking Union said it intended to publish the selected stories in an anthology sometime next year.
Meanwhile, The Chalkies made the bestseller list at Avid Reader Bookshop, where it was launched, and also featured on the back page of their Summer Reading Guide (next to the butterfly!)
All writers live in hope of being published and then well received, so for a couple of months this author was doing okay in that regard. As all writers also know, however, this is no guarantee that the next piece of writing will be successful. We just keep beavering away, and keep on hoping …
Until next time
What writers say:
‘You cannot hope to sweep someone else away by the force of your writing until it has been done to you.’ ~ Stephen King