Zoo official book launch
So last Wednesday saw me and the posse (read: partner-in-crime and parents) heading out to the picturesque setting of Bolesworth Castle for the official book launch of Zoo, the anthology of stories for the 2009 High Sheriff’s Cheshire Prize for Literature.
Not ever wanting to be down on Chester University, I have to however say that this was a much nicer location for a book launch than the university campus! The castle itself is beautiful but I think it was the grounds I was most taken with – imagine having that view to wake up to every morning (well, our wonderful hostess the High Sheriff, who was properly lovely, assured me that it’s a very nice view to have in the morning indeed!)
I definitely enjoyed the evening more than I’ve enjoyed any event of this type I’ve been to so far. Managing to squish the nerves (is this a writer thing?!) and have a good talk to fellow writers such as Simon Gotts, Catherine Marseille and David Whitley – who delivered an excellent talk on what winning the Cheshire Prize meant to him – was well fun. I even managed to do a reasonably intelligible reading of a section of The Audsley Chimera, which was most positively received, largely in the ‘it’s still really bothering me’ vein, to my delight (yes, all my work is autobiographical.)
It was also nice to be able to thank the Chester Uni staff for all their work in organising and running the Prize each year, as it gives such a great confidence boost and the opportunity to be published to so many new writers. I’m especially grateful to Dr Emma Rees, the 2009 anthology editor, for all her encouragement and the kind words she offered me at last October’s awards evening.
And yes, there were canapes and white wine. I have to get better at this writing business, even if it’s just for the canapes!