For those who were lucky enough to get book vouchers for Christmas, I thought it would be a good idea to offer some suggestions on what to spend them on. So, here are a few new/forthcoming books I’d like to recommend. I either have/want/have read/want to read them so I hope that you’ll want them too.
I got a bit of a shock yesterday – a lovely shock – after finding out that my collection had been named by British writer Maggie Gee as one of her favourite books of 2011. Maggie’s chosen books appeared in The Guardian (Nigeria) alongside selections from other writers, editors and publishing professionals from around the world. The article, written by Nigerian writer A. Igoni Barrett, can be seen here. But, as the text is a bit small to see on the photo, here’s what it says:
Maggie Gee, author of My Animal Life: I re-read Bernardine Evaristo’s fascinating fictionalised family history, the new, expanded Lara (Bloodaxe, New ed., 2009), tracing the roots of this mixed race British writer back through the centuries to Nigeria, Brazil, Germany, Ireland—comedy and tragedy, all in light-footed, dancing verse. In Selma Dabbagh’s new Out of It (Bloomsbury, 2011), the lives of young Palestinians in Gaza are brought vividly to life—gripping, angry, funny, political. Somewhere Else, or Even Here (Salt, 2011) by A.J. Ashworth is a stunningly original first collection of short stories.
So, as you can imagine, it was a shock indeed. I look forward to getting hold of copies of books by the other writers Maggie mentions, as well as those mentioned by some of the other contributors. A surprise for sure but a great end to the year.
It’s National Short Story Day this Thursday, December 22 (the shortest day of the year) so, to mark this special day, I thought I’d offer one person the chance to win a signed copy of my book.
All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning is to find my profile on Twitter (@AJAshworth) and retweet (RT) one of the messages about the competition. You have until 7pm on Thursday, December 22 to enter. One name will be drawn and a signed copy of the book will be sent to that person – or to someone else of their choosing. The competition is open to anyone, no matter where they are in the world. So get RTing! (And don’t forget to visit the National Short Story Day website too.)
UPDATE: 9pm on Thursday 22nd – congrats to @jessicapatient who wins a copy of my book. Thanks to all 42 who entered.
The book launch went really well last Wednesday at Blackwell’s in Sheffield. I’d been invited to hold the event as part of Sheffield Hallam’s MA Writing Masterclass* series – Hallam being the university where I studied for my MA.
My former tutor Felicity Skelton – herself an excellent short story writer – gave a lovely introduction, which was actually very touching. I then read the first story from the collection – ‘Sometimes Gulls Kill Other Gulls’. Afterwards I got a nice selection of questions from different people including if I was finding it difficult to motivate myself to write after the MA (Yes, a bit) and whether writing was like acting (Yes, because you have to immerse yourself in the lives of the characters). And by this point it was time to wrap up.