Wednesday, 16 December 2009

And The Winner Is...

Me! Well, that's what I'm hoping to be hearing next March as A Single to Rome has been longlisted for Romantic Novel of the Year. Of course I know I should be saying something self-deprecating and charming about how I'm honoured to be among such illustrious company, the wonderful books that have also been longlisted and all that (and I genuinely am thrilled to have been included) but deep deep down I hope that all their books will dissolve into the bathwater because I really really want to WIN.

Writing is not a competitive sport. It's for people who like sitting in small rooms talking to imaginary characters. And while most writers would admit to twinges of jealousy when they hear of a fellow writer getting an amazing deal or hitting the heights of the bestseller lists, in my experience we're a fairly generous and supportive lot. Perhaps we're so used to being at the bottom of the publishing pile we learn to look out for each other.

I never won anything at school, not even a runner up badge. I wasn't bad, but neither was I good. I was average, and average means years of sitting on a hard chair in the school hall listening to other people's names being called. Strange, isn't it. If you'd asked me yesterday I'd have said I wasn't particularly fussed about awards and prizes, those years having left minimal expectations. I don't expect I'll be getting the prize this time round, but oh - I am so pleased that for once I'm a contender.


Hayley said...

Congratulations Sarah, on getting onto the longlist. I love the cover of your book! I really wish you all the best (hope you win too). How do they decide the winner?

Sarah Duncan said...

Thanks Hayley, I think the cover is gorgeous too, my favourite so far.

I believe the longlist is the highest scorers from a panel of 100 readers who read and score three books each. Then every book on the longlist is read and scored by a smaller panel of readers to come up with a shortlist of 6. Then that shortlist is read by a completely new panel of judges to come up with a winner. So a bit tricky to bribe or unfairly influence the outcome (though I'm working on it...!)