Reaching the shortlist of the Ada Cambridge Prose Prize!
It is every author’s much coveted dream. When I opened the email from the Williamstown Festival committee and saw the first word, ‘Congratulations!’, I nearly fell off my seat. Me, who never wins a thing, well, truth be told rarely enters a competition, finding my story, ‘Nothing to Declare’, selected out of countless hundreds in a statewide competition was momentous. Especially since the Ada Cambridge Prose Prize for biographical fiction is one of Australia’s prestigious literary prizes.
Here I am on stage with the other shortlisted entrants. I was so nervous! I don’t mind being on stage when I am performing or launching a book, but lined up like that with the others with nothing to do but listen and stare at the audience was not a fun experience.
I didn’t win the Adas. Congratulations to David Francis, who did. All of us lined up on stage hoped to win, but in hindsight winning doesn’t matter. Never mind the cherry. The cake is enough. Best of all I spent the occasion with a new and delightful friend. Karen Crombie of Exact Editing cast her sharp eye over my story prior to submission so it was very special for me to have her beside me during the event. She took these smashing photos too! I must also thank author Clare Rhoden for encouraging me to apply and Philip Wallis, for reading and commenting on my story and for just being a terrific literary friend.
Reaching the shortlist for this story is special for another reason. ‘Nothing to Declare’ is a version of the first chapter of my forthcoming historical novel based on my great grandmother’s life.