Catherine Chanter, 2013 Fiction Prize winner with The Well, shares her journey as an author.
The view from here
Ten years ago, I was on a train to London for my first ever appointment with a literary agent, buoyed up with excitement and weighed down by a novel which I had sent out as an unsolicited manuscript. (In those days, you needed an advance just to cover the cost of the postage. It was a vicious circle.)
Emma Hughes, author of No Such Thing As Perfect (Fiction Prize shortlist 2019), tells us about her writing career and shares some pro tips.
How and when did you get into writing and have you taken any formal writing courses?Like most authors, I was a child who always had her nose in a book, and I knew I wanted to write something from the word go. I studied English, and in my twenties, I did an MA in Creative Writing – to be honest, I’m not sure if it helped me much in terms of becoming a writer, though I know lots of people do find formal study and the opportunities for mentorship that it provides incredibly useful. For me, reading was always the most important thing in getting the gears turning: coming across authors who were doing things I loved and admired.
Never give up. Sometimes you only need one competition to recognise your talents - the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize could be the one to recognise yours
An interview with Susan Stokes-Chapman, author of Pandora, shortlisted at the 2020 Fiction prize.
How and when did you get into writing and have you taken any formal qualifications?
I always had an active imagination growing up. I think I spent more time with my head in a book than doing anything else (books were more fun than real life), and the first definitive novel that probably planted the writing seed in my mind was L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables.
Megan Davis, winner of the 2021 Fiction Prize with The Messenger, on her writing career and the benefits of entering a prize.
I always associate travel with the urge to write. Being in new surroundings makes me look at the world differently, especially if I don’t understand the language or culture. There’s nothing like feeling a bit lost to inspire my imagination and force me to try to make sense of things going on around me.
Charlotte Wightwick, 2021 Fiction Prize shortlisted author, explains how writing plays an integral role in her life.
My mother would tell you that I was always going to be a writer. She has the obligatory set of small-child ‘masterpieces’ that I suspect every mum has tucked away somewhere.
It is true, writing is something I have always wanted to do. The question for me is not ‘why do you want to write’ but ‘why wouldn’t you want to do so?’
That doesn’t mean that the desire to write has always transmuted into actually writing, though.
Bringing characters and worlds to life, letting them breathe and grow until they’re something entirely new and so different from what I first imagined
An interview with Briony Cameron, shortlisted for the 2021 Fiction Prize with The Ballad of Jacquotte Delahaye.
Julie Bull, shortlisted for the Fiction Prize 2021, explains how hard work, passion and patience eventually led to success.
As someone who came to writing late, I often ask myself why I began to write when I did. Writing is so intimately bound up with reading and I’d long loved reading even though I didn’t come from a bookish household at all. I remember studying The Love Song of Alfred J Prufrock in my first year of sixth form at school and thinking it so extraordinary, like someone had opened a door to something incredibly important for me personally.
Criteria of ‘literary merit plus unputdownability’ behind Sally Skinner’s decision to enter Lucy’s Fiction Prize
An interview with Sally Skinner, shortlisted for the 2021 Prize with The Mirador
The first in a series of blogs, Elena Casas tells us about her career and her experience of being shortlisted for the 2021 Fiction Prize
The first book I wrote was called The Adventures of the Margaret Ellen, A Pirate Ship. The Margaret Ellen was a cardboard box I painted with rigging and portholes and sailed around the garden, with my sister as a reluctant cabin boy. I think she was three and I was seven. The Margaret Ellen crossed the Atlantic many times, returned with cargoes of looted doubloons and sunk its rivals in gun battles off Jamaica. I wrote it all down in an A3 scrapbook with illustrations in coloured pencil.