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Shortlists and what they mean

It's been a strange and frantic time, transitioning from two years as a freelance writer back to academia. It's been amazing to be back teaching, but I'm also releanring how to be part of a large organisation again, and to accept the different speed of movement. And with that, some sacrifices, like cutting out a lot of my writing time. But there' s also the joy of the new, like a recent trip to Antwerp for the INTERREG Europe, Let's Cooperate launch. We stayed in diamond district, took the Eurostar, made a swift side pilgrimage to HEMA, my Mecca of notebooks. But amidst all the clamour, a notification arrived that a book I'd contributed to, Future Folk Horror: Contemporary Anxieties and Possible Futures, edited by Simon Bacon, had been longlisted for the Justin D. Edwards Memorial Prize. Daringly for an academic collection, Simon had asked me to contribute a short story, and a companion essay. So my little 'Buried' from New Music For Old Rituals went in, and so did a contextual piece 'Buried: Folk Horror As Retrieval.' The finished book is a thing of beauty, even down to the cover illustration by Gemma Files, and a richly deserved nomination for Simon, the hardest working editor in all of Gothic-land.

And if that wasn't enough, when I came back for a quick weekend between Antwerp and Malta, I got an email to say that the short story ('The Woman In The Water') I'd submitted to the London Independent Story Prize, had been shortlisted. When it came, I celebrated with my friend Ilari who was visiting from Finland - a beautiful reminder of friendships forged during the wonderful Saari Residency of 2023.

So, to be shortlisted for writing

is a massive thing. It's not just the external validation - that's always nice, but the most important thing always for me is that I'm happy with my own writing - it's more of a Sign. A Sign that I'm are the right person, in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing.

And that right thing? - writing.

So as we move softly into the slow green budding of April, I'm feeding my mind and body with goodness and granting it the time to do what it wants, to blossom into drifts of words. To bloom.


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