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Don't hold back!

As a recipient of a The Northern Writers’ Awards in 2010 I'd like to acknowledge the support of New Writing North, Arts Council England and the Leighton group who sponsored the awards last year.

The silly thing is I very nearly didn't enter. It was around this time last year. I was busy with yet another draft of THE MURDER WALL and sent my entry off at the very last minute . . .

. . . and won! Since then, my writing has really taken off. I've moved forward in so many ways. I've been mentioned in trade magazines, interviewed by local newspapers - even crowned Echo Woman by one! I've also come to the attention the Hexham Book Festival director who is keen to promote my work even further when my books are out in print. IN PRINT? Crumbs! Did I say that out loud?

I won the Time to Write Award for my second novel at a time when my debut had sold in Germany but not in my home market. But, three months after winning, I was offered a three book deal (UK and Commonwealth rights plus Canada) from one of the most sought after publishers, Pan Macmillan. The first two novels (THE MURDER WALL and SETTLED BLOOD) are scheduled for publication in 2012, such is the enthusiasm for the series.

Only this week, news that an earlier local award winner Dan Smith has been short-listed for the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award 2011 further demonstrates how important these awards are to local writers. Who knows? Perhaps the Northern Writers’ Award will be the first of many for me too!

I'm extremely grateful to New Writing North for supporting my work. It's not the first time: their generous staff played a significant role in my securing a top London agent at Blake Friedmann after several years trying to do this on my own.

I'm delighted to have been able to give a little back by promoting the Northern Writers’ Awards 2011 in the press and on social networking sites recently. Without them, there would be few opportunities for new writers to break into what is a very difficult market to conquer. 

So if anyone out there is holding back as I was, too self-conscious or too busy to enter, there is still time. Just go for it! Details on I wish all of you the very best of luck . . .

Reader Comments (3)

I couldn't agree more. New Writing North works tirelessly to promote authors in the North East. Some years ago I was awarded a Northern Promise award on the strength of an early draft of Dry Season - a book which has been shortlisted for the Authors' Club Best First Novel - and since then, my involvement with NWN has opened a number of opportunities to promote my work. And in these times of so many cuts in funding for the arts, NWN is still battling on, doing what they can to promote writing in the North East. In recent months I've met a number of writers from this region and it turns out there's quite a talented bunch knocking about! We're lucky to have a NWN to support us.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDan Smith

I'm putting my application together this week! Can't speak highly enough of NWN and the work they do, especially the young writers program. I assume that soon NWN won't be able to speak highly enough of me either...

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLuke

Just found your blog via Twitter and was encouraged to read that you did get a UK deal after being published in Germany. I AM excited about my German deal, and so looking forward to seeing the cover etc. but a deal in my home market would be the icing on the cake!

Congratulations on all your success - The Murder Wall sounds great :)

April 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

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