I think it was about eight years ago now that I saw my first short story published. It was included in an anthology of new writers under thirty, called Nu, and after publication we all trooped off to Hay to talk about the book. I was beyond excitement. Naturally, I didn’t show it, but… to be at Hay… as a writer! I was on my way, surely. I was being taken seriously. Being handed the white rose after our event was a massive thrill. I decided it would be my good luck charm: I dried it, crushed it, framed it, and sat it on my bedside table. It still sits there to this day.
This year, I visited Hay as the author of a short story collection and a novel, forthcoming next year. Getting my hands on my second Hay rose has taken some time. But here it is – paper not petal now – sitting in a vase near my desk. Another good luck charm.
At twenty, I set myself a ten year writing plan. After many thousands of hours of work and many failures, that plan came to fruition. And now, with my second Hay rose in sight, I have set myself my next ten year writing plan. It’s a difficult game, this writing business. It’s precarious and exhausting in its way. But it is also my joy, and I hope the next decade is as successful as the last. To quote my great great uncle, Sergeant Francis House – whose story I will soon be telling – “I, too, will try” and hopefully “in doing so gain just reward in success and happiness”.