I haven’t been told officially yet, but it’s been in the Eastern Daily Press, and shared about on Twitter and Facebook, that Waiting for Bluebeard has been shortlisted for the East Anglian Book Award this year, along with Rebecca Goss (Her Birth) and George Szirtes (Bad Machine), so it must be true. I am of course extremely pleased to be in such company! I don’t expect to win, but I’ve never been on any kind of shortlist before, so to say ‘I already feel like a winner’, while reaching for the schmalz-cliche-sick-bucket, is an actual state of fact.
Because Bluebeard is such a personal book, I was taking quite a risk (as risky as you can get with poetry!) by putting it out into the world: Here is my life: please be kind. So far, I have had some wonderful online reviews, and there are some paper ones coming up too. People have emailed me and facebooked me and tweeted me with lovely comments and lots of women have come to me with their own Bluebeard stories and I feel so blessed that the book has not gone unnoticed. The word ‘blessed’ here, has me reaching for my aforementioned bucket. I do not use that word in everyday parlance, but somehow it’s what I arrived upon here.
(Dear reader, if you have just happened on this site and don’t have a Scooby Doo what I’m talking about when I say the book is so personal, follow this link to something I wrote about the writing of Waiting for Bluebeard for Michelle McGrane’s Peony Moon)
Back to my thread, if I had one…oh yes, I was getting all gushy…So, to conclude: I am enormously pleased that the book has been recognized in the world of prizes. It took twenty years to make and five years to write. More than half my life. It’s probably the best book I will ever write. *looks wistfully into the middle-distance*. Coffee time!