A couple of weeks ago I received an email from the London Book Festival. It wasn’t a personal email you understand, just one of those emails that are going to a mailing list. The email said that the list of winners of its 2017 London Book Festival competition were now available on its website. It encouraged recipients to click on the link to be taken to the relevant page. I had two thoughts that followed one another rather quickly. The first was, did I really enter my debut novel ‘Where is Emma Butler’s Life Plan?’ into this competition and the second was, surely they would have contacted me directly if I was a winner?
Having hesitated over the delete button for a moment I decided to click on the link. To cut a long story short I soon found that not only had I won the prize for General Fiction but I was also being honoured as the overall winner of the competition, or Grand Prize Winner. I felt a bit guilty for having forgotten that I entered the competition but checking my records I realised that I had sent my book for consideration in March of 2017 and it was now January 2018. Nobody can be expected to hold something like that in their heads for 10 months, surely?
There was a runner up in my category and a fairly large list of ‘Honourable Mentions’. There were also numerous other categories; spiritual, science fiction, young adult, children’s books, poetry, genre based (no, I’ve no idea what that means either), photography, general non-fiction, cookbooks, business, biography, compilations and self help books as well as a wild card category for anything that didn’t fit into one of the above. Goodness knows what that might be.
I shouted excitedly to my husband that my book had won the Grand Prize in another competition (yes, it wasn’t my first) I was a little disappointed with his, ‘Are you sure?’
Prize money and an awards ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London were promised as were complimentary tickets for myself, husband and son to attend.
I have to be honest that I began to feel a little incredulous myself when I saw that the ticket price for the event was over $100 per person. Who, I wondered, would pay that much to come to an awards ceremony? Well as it turned out not only did people shell out for a ticket but many of the winners in other categories had flown in from the US, Switzerland and Malta to pick up their own prizes and to speak at the awards evening. It was an intimate affair, but great fun and we were able to mingle and chat with all the other attendees picking up their certificates on the night.
My problem now is where to place another winner’s sticker on my book. Not asking the book cover designer to allow space for such stickers was obviously a school girl error on my part, but you live and learn. Now I’m just waiting for the prize money to hit my account but I’m reassured by the organisers having asked for my bank details.
I think I had better get on with book number two as I felt a little sheepish to find that I was the only author at the awards ceremony to only have one book under my belt. But if you want to know what all the fuss is about ‘Where is Emma Butler’s Life Plan?’ is available on the Amazon link below.