And then there was summer

It’s over, it’s written on the trees. A bold, bursting summer of travel and sea and words; good news and sad departures. Now it is time to finish this long crazy novel, fruit of so many months work.

In June I learnt that The Cartography of Others was longlisted for the People’s Book Prize - an incredible honour and joy. The next round is a people’s vote so I have been urging readers to vote all summer, hoping to arrive on the shortlist. Here’s to hoping! Voting closes on October 15th so do vote if you can !

Writer guests arrived for my country retreats and words were written, Campari spritzes and cool evenings enjoyed, along with wandering along the calle of Venice. We hiked in the nearby Euganei Hills, home to the elderly Petrarch; and breathed the lovely green of the garden. Exploring the area and hosting writers has become a summer delight for this country mama! I’m grateful that bookings have started for 2020 and look forward to another round of guests next year.

Considerable writing was done during my own writing residency at the Three Rock Studio in Triopetra, on Crete’s southern shores. A sun-blessed setting, brushed by the scents of thyme and cedar. I recommend stuffed zucchini flowers and honey raki - food of the gods for the common writer.

My collection of flash fiction Love Stories for Hectic People has been picked up by Reflex Press and will be out in Spring 2020. This assortment of love and not-love stories is a refraction of decades of inhaling this unguarded sensation. I hope readers will enjoy these wild wanderings..

Back to work. I am currently holed up in the attic with this autumnal manuscript.

xcat

Award Night in Athens

Last year The Cartography of Others was awarded Grand Prize in the inaugural Eyelands Book Awards. The prize included a five-night stay in Athens - one of my favourite cities - a thrilling ceremony at the central Polis Cafe and a beautiful ceramic trophy. I can’t say how grateful I am to Grigoros Papadoyiannis and the Eyelands team for the wonderful evening and fabulous stay. I had a great balcony overlooking Lycabettus Hill which I climbed one warmish afternoon to see the whole of Athens, and I was located close to the National Archaeology Museum, where I wandered for hours. Food along Benaki Street was REMARKABLE.

It is a rare thing to be awarded for the many, many hours that go into the publication of a book of short stories, so this has been an utter highlight of my writing experience. I’ll be back next year as a competition judge!

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Back to the Heart of the Matter

This winter I have finally slowed down and reentered the creative phase of the writer’s life. Back to the heart of the matter. Back to words. Last year was extremely tough for many reasons. And yet it was the year that The Cartography of Others was finally published, after five years of inventing, polishing and submitting stories, and editing, resubmitting, publishing, compiling the book, followed by more editing - endless, maddening editing. Unbound did a remarkably thorough job and produced a beautiful cover. Again, I would like to thank those who pre-ordered copies pf The Cartography of Others from Unbound. Grazie mille from the bottom of my heart. And after publication I worked as hard as I could on marketing, promotion, readings and reviews. So many different hats have been worn on this head..

And now it’s back to creative work. Nuts and bolts. Staring at the mountain beyond my window, frost outside. Wordlove. Characters in my head. I’m very happy as the first part of my new book has just won me a writing residency in Crete for the end of this summer, so waves of words, hopefully, will come to me. Until then, hibernation, dark chocolate, espresso and winter sunlight for this writer.

Xcat

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