Monday 3 July 2023

AND THE WINNER IS... by Sharon Tregenza



I've been sorting photos and files today, not terribly successfully as there are far too many and I'm easily distracted. I came across a piece I'd written fifteen yeas ago when my very first book was accepted for publication. It wasn't by the usual route - I entered a competition. I'd been writing short stories, reviews, poems, loads of stuff for magazines etc but this was my first shot at a full blown book. This is what happened...

I'm with a group of friends and family and we are in a striped marquee. It's the 2008 International Edinburgh Book Festival and I feel sick with apprehension.

Weeks earlier I'd got a letter from Floris Books to tell me that my submission for the Kelpie's Award was short-listed. At stake was a two thousand pound prize and a guaranteed publishing contract for my children's book. I'd practised my 'winning smile', painted my toenails and bought a new outfit. Now the moment is here.

We three short-listed authors make polite conversation, pose for photographs and nervously sip wine. The marquee is full - buzzing with local media, writers, publishers and agents as well as our supporters.
    There's a call to order and I hurry back to my group to take the good or the bad news surrounded by people who care.

The crowd grows quiet and I can feel my heart hammering. Viv French takes the stage. She reads excerpts from all three books - mine is last. She's reading my story now - my characters, my setting, MY book. Viv reads brilliantly and I hear the the children who have lived for so long in my imagination, come to life. It's a thrilling moment.

The reading are over. I can feel the tension in the air as the envelope with the winner's name is passed on stage.

'And the winner is...' the next few seconds feel like hours as I hold my breath. 'And the winner is... Tarantula Tide by Sharon Tregenza.'

My family explode with shrieks and cheers as I fight my way through to collect my super-size cheque and face a barrage of flashing cameras. I am gloriously happy. My smile, a mile wide, is reflected back by the sea of faces below me.

We party into the small hours, recounting each wonderful moment. Every twenty minutes or so someone shouts out... 'and the winner is?' And we all scream back, Tarantula Tide by Sharon Tregenza.


Joan Lennon said...

Wonderful memory!

Sharon Tregenza said...

Thank you, Joan. Yes it was. :)

Sue Purkiss said...