Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Derry & Dundee...

I've just realised that I'm rubbish at writing. My blog that is. I'm fairly committed at writing elsewhere which is just as well because it's exactly what I love to do... Anyway, finally, an update blog.

Last week I was in Derry at the Celtic Media Festival. It's an amazing city, full of passion and determination and fabulous friendly people, and the history is so very much alive it whacks you in the face at every turn. A stunning, vibrant place. I was one of the National Jury for the festival organisers this year so I was excited to attend the festival and see how the Scottish entries our team had nominated fared against their Celtic cousins. I was also very excited because Dannsa Beo, one of my own programmes produced by mneTV for BBC ALBA, was shortlisted in the best Factual Entertainment category. We didn't win, which was disappointing as it really is a tremendous programme created by a wonderful team but well done to the Welsh for taking the Torc.

Just after that moment of disappointment I received an email to say that my novel, The Dandelion Clock, has made the shortlist of the Dundee International Book Prize. The panel comprises some really impressive judges; Stephen Fry, Alan Bissett, Philip Pullman and Jenny Brown. The prize is a contract and publication with the quite lovely Scottish indie Cargo Publishing and £10,000. There were 475 entries and the shortlist comprises 12.

Myself and 11 others at the supper table.

I am refusing to see any synchronicity in the fact that my novel quite heavily features a Glaswegian Virgin Mary. That would be just wrong...

On the trip up to Derry we took the coast route from Larne and I had the absolute pleasure of driving past my amazing island, Rathlin. It looked stunning, showing itself off at its best for the convey of cars that were following me up the road to Derry. Thank you my beautiful island, I was right proud of you. Sigh.

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