Today it was announced that I have won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction with ‘The Mistress of Nothing’.
This is such a huge huge honour and, I’ll admit, a complete and wonderful surprise.
More when I have time - but thanks to all for the tweets, mails, calls, and FB comments so far. I really appreciate it.
4 November 2009 in | Comments (2)
A couple of weeks ago during the Birmingham Literary Festival I went up to record ‘A Good Read’. This is my favourite BBC Radio 4 book programme. Every week two people plus the presenter chose a book each to read and discuss. I was on with Catherine O’Flynn who chose Gordon Burn’s ‘Alma Cogan’; I chose Don DeLillo’s ‘White Noise’; and the host, Sue McGregor, chose ‘Chicago’ by Alaa Al Aswany. It was a great thrill to meet Sue McGregor, and after the recording was finished (in front of a live audience, quite nerve-wracking), I took the train back to London with Sue, who turned out to be completely charming and funny. We had a great conversation about female news presenters and hard news reporters, and the lack thereof. Fascinating.
You can hear the programme here for the next week; after that I think it will be in the archive…
This is where I’ll be next week, #network09, in Bergen, Norway. Really looking forward to it. After a week of total immersion in the world of books of the non-digital sort, it will be good to head off to Norway to touch base with other digital writers, artists, and academics. Not that there’s anything wrong with the world of books, just that the two events (this one and IFOA last week) will provide a healthy contrast to one another.
Not that IFOA was totally non-digital of course. There was plenty of twittering and blogging going on during the week. And we even had the obligatory-new-media-event-tech-meltdown one evening. I got off the plane from London Monday afternoon and had to go pretty much straight onto the stage for the Governor General Literary Awards Readings (did I mention I’m on the shortlist?). Two of the shortlisted writers, Annabel Lyon and Michael Crummey, were in Ottawa, so they were appearing on stage via a Skype webcamera call. Not only did this mean that they were represented by huge distorted videos of their heads (you know how your face gets distorted when you lean up too close to the camera?), but their voices kept cutting out and breaking up. It was so bad that the audience become unruly, heckling and shouting about the ticket price! Unheard of for a book audience, let alone a Canadian book audience! However, we redeemed ourselves in the second half with some actual real-person-on-the-stage readings. Also, the chair of the event, Lewis De Soto remained calm, and during the interval helped calm us all down when he said it was ‘an easy act to follow’. Still, how thrilling to witness a new-media-style-tech-meltdown at a venerable literary event!!!