Writing and winning are wonderful!

Ruth HartleyStorytelling, Writing, Writing ProcessLeave a Comment

I am a prize-winner for the first time

Here I am at the 2019 Charroux Competition Event at Confolens when I was long-listed for a poetry prize. I don’t have a photo for this year because of Covid 19

I am thrilled to be a runner-up in the Charroux Litfest competition for my short story Truth, Dare, Command. Thank you Charroux Litfest and thank you Charroux organisers – Kate Rose and Barbara Sage. I know you do an unpaid, time-consuming labour of love. The theme of the competition was Truth and here are the links to the Charroux Litfest and to the competition winners and their stories. You can also download my story at the download button at the end of this paragraph. You may want to ask why I chose this subject matter?  All fiction and fantasy are more powerful when personal experience is at the root of story and character. The plot can be entirely invented, but readers need to trust a writer’s authority and truthfulness to connect with her stories. Stories open doors to new worlds and so they can be a road to liberation.  

There aren’t many winners

My books at the Au Tour du Livre Book Salon

The first time I entered a competition for a short story I felt that I was offering the judges my heart and soul. I fussed over my entry, kept worrying about its process through the assessment stages and then, of course, was deeply disappointed not be long-listed, short-listed or proclaimed a winner. I felt such a failure! I wondered if I dared to write again – ever!

Statistics and Finances

Au Tour du Livre 2020 Vic en Bigorre

I guess there are statistics about competitions and winners and the chances of a prize are about the same as finding a publisher when you are an older debut author. Prizes are funded by competition entry fees. Even if you enter many competitions and win one you may still be out of pocket. If you do win, however, you will be dancing on the moon as I am and people will be reading your story. It really is a wonderful boon and boost to your confidence. Litfests are also great for meeting and talking to writers and readers. Thank you again Charroux! I hope that you’ll do it again next year and that it won’t have to be virtual because of Covid 19

Competitions are work and so is writing

La Litote Librairie with local French writers. Nathalie Curiel is on the left

I often enter literary competitions. They give you a focus and a challenge and are about honing your craft as a writer. They also give you a chance to revisit stories you wrote a while ago and to rework them. I enjoy that because I know I get better when I practise and re-edit. If you are a writer – and can afford to enter a competition – give it a go. It’s worthwhile.

Book Festivals and Book Fairs – Au Tour du Livre and Charroux

Clara Villanueva talking about her memoir on stage. I chose this blurred image because of the animation and laughter and music of the occasion

The day I heard that I was a runner-up in the Charroux competition was also the day I spent at Au Tour du Livre, a French literature festival, in Vic en Bigorre, a town close to my home. There were a few English writers, Nick Inman, Clara Villanueva and myself – Clara gave a talk about her memoir of her childhood in Franco’s Spain. This is another event organised by devoted and hardworking volunteers, Marie-Clémence Duguet, Magali  Charron and Annick Theis with the participation of the bookshop La Litote under the indefatigable Nathalie Curiel. These events give life and encouragement to writers – so thank you to them all!

Festivals du livre et salons du livre – Au Tour du Livre et Charroux

Nick Inman and his books in a quiet moment. The masks did not interfere with communication or smiles at all

Le jour où j’ai appris que j’étais finaliste du concours Charroux a également été le jour où j’ai participé Au Tour du Livre, un festival de littérature française, à Vic en Bigorre, une ville proche de chez moi. Il y avait quelques écrivains anglais, Nick Inman, Clara Villanueva et moi-même – Clara a fait un exposé sur ses souvenirs d’enfance dans l’Espagne de Franco. Ca c’est un également événement organisé par des bénévoles dévouées, Marie-Clémence Duguet, Magali Charron et Annick Theis, avec la participation de la librairie La Litote sous l’infatigable Nathalie Curiel. Ces événements donnent vie et encouragent les écrivains – alors merci à tous !

Téléchargez ma nouvelle en français ici

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