Have you noticed? You look at the website or blog of a well known author, and some not so well known authors, and are faced with a sidebar full of awards. Their biography includes every single literary prize they have one from the year dot and the cover of their latest book proclaims it to be “prize winning” – occasionally it actually states which prize! Has anyone ever bought a book because the author has won a prize?
Do I sound jealous? I shouldn’t. I too have won a writing prize.
Last Monday evening, it was the Rugby Family History Group AGM and Christmas Social. As a member of the committee I was armed with my report – how far we had got with the transcription of a local Parish Register; how our First World War Project was going (300 men researched, 100+ to go) more volunteers wanted, and what was happening on the website (not a lot). We dozed through the financial report and looked elsewhere when asked if there were any volunteers to replace the secretary, who was retiring at that meeting. Another report concerned the Magazine. As always the editor complained of lack of copy, please could someone write something for the next issue. Because I’m a helpful type, I can usually manage to produce something when she gets desperate
Some years ago, to encourage submissions, we set up The Harry Batchelor Prize for the best article in the previous years magazines (three issues). This is to commemorate our first Chairman, and is presented at the end of the AGM – before we let the hordes loose on the food – provided, of course, by the committee. The prize is judged by someone from the local library, a local writer and last years winner. I got out my camera to take photographs, to add to the website. The envelope was opened, imaginary drums rolled, the commended and highly commended articles were announced. I lined up my camera. The winner was an article entitled “But what was he doing in Ireland?”. Must be that chap with the Irish ancestors.
It wasn’t. It was me! I had forgotten all about that one.
I stood up to receive my prize. Cameras flashed, well, one did and someone had the foresight to pick up mine, and take a picture. Champagne flowed – someone later opened the wine box!
And I became a prize winning author.
Shall I add it to the side bar? Winner of the Harry Batchelor Prize, 2017
And 2013, 2011 and 2009 – did I mention I’ve won before? I try not to do it too often – it means I have to act as judge next year!