Last night at the Bath Festival of Children's Literature was the Bath Spa University event. Three program alums (CJ Skuse, Jim Carrington, and Alexandra Diaz) read from their books. Julia (my tutor) moderated, and they answered questions about the writing process, writing for teens, and the MA in Writing for Young People. At the end, Julia announced the winner of the prize from Rosemary Canter of United Agents for the most promising writer from our year.
To be completely honest, I had been dreading this evening for weeks (if not months!). Who would win? Would I be happy for them? Jealous? Could it be me?
Unfortunately, Rosemary couldn't attend in person. Instead she wrote a letter, which Julia read aloud, about judging our manuscripts. She mentioned several writers whose work she had enjoyed reading. Then she mentioned me! I was so excited I missed most of what she said. But the part I definitely heard went something like this: "Anne's character is angry and defiant, yet surprisingly likeable; a very difficult thing to pull off."
One of my biggest worries with Project Sparkle has been my character's likability. So to hear a prestigious agent enjoyed her was so exciting. Do you remember that moment in the cartoon Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer where the girl reindeer kisses Rudolph? He jumps up and flies through the sky, shouting "She likes me!" That's what it felt like.
I didn't win (full congrats to Sheila!). But honestly, I went home totally happy. Really. I was so nervous about last night, but in the end, I guess all I wanted was some recognition, which I certainly received. It was a great end to a great year.