Thursday, 20 November 2014

Publication Day - Acknowledgments

A major highlight of my year came at Crimefest in May when I won the inaugural CWA Margery Allingham Prize for my short story "Acknowledgments". Among other lovely things, part of the prize was the commitment of Bloomsbury to publish the winning entry in ebook form, via their successful Bloomsbury Reader platform. Bloomsbury has - in less than thirty years- established a very impressive reputation, not least thanks to the Harry Potter series and a Man Booker Prize winner. So I'm honoured to announce that today is publication day of Acknowledgments, an ebook that includes not just the story, but rather more.

It seemed to me that it would be desirable to offer readers some "added value", given that the story itself is short of necessity, because of the word limit in the competition rules. Luckily, Bloomsbury agreed. So the ebook includes two other stories of mine of which I'm fond, and which I felt would benefit from a fresh life. There is also an essay by me about Margery Allingham and her short stories, and a generous intro from Julia Jones, biographer of Allingham and closely involved with the Margery Allingham Society I had a lot of fun writing "Acknowledgments", and I hope it will entertain and amuse you if you read it..

Allingham was a very interesting woman and an accomplished writer. I've wavered, if I am honest, in my views about her books over the years, and to this day I haven't read them all. But I rediscovered her, in a sense, while researching her for The Golden Age of Murder, and I'm becoming ever more enthusiastic about her writing. I'm hoping, with Julia's encouragement, to go on an Allingham tour next year and explore some of the locations of the books. And I devoted the prize money to acquiring some delightful first editions inscribed by Allingham herself - it seemed fitting, and much better for me and my family than lots of chocolate...

I've quite often been shortlisted for prizes that were won by someone else, and my sympathies are at least as often with those on the shortlist as with the winners. All the more so this year, because my wife Helena was one of the runners-up. However, we still speak occasionally...and I'm thrilled to say that her story will be published in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine before long. This will be her first taste of publication as a fiction writer, but another one (a contribution to an anthology of stories edited by Ann Cleeves) is already looming. This leads me to my final point - competitions can be Very Good Things for writers, whether experienced or inexperienced. The CWA Margery Allngham prize will be awarded again next year, and more details for prospective entrants can be found here.  



11 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Well-done to both of you, Martin!

R.T. said...

Well, let me put you on the spot. What are Allingham's best novels? I read Tiger in the Smoke (I think that was the name), and I was lukewarm about it. Perhaps other titles are better. Any suggestions?

BTW . . . of course . . . congratulations. There will be a time when CWA will be giving out the Martin Edwards award. Hey, it is a reasonable prediction!

George said...

Allingham's work never really appeal to me. But I admire her accomplishments and her loyal audience of readers.

Christine said...

Congratulations, Martin! I have just got my copy. Will look forward to seeing Helena in EQMM.

Martin Edwards said...

Grateful for these comments! Tim - I liked The Tiger in the Smoke, but so far, I think perhaps Police at the Funeral is my favourite. The Fashion in Shrouds is high on my to-read list. I also think her short stories are often excellent.

Mike Hobart said...

EQMM -- I once read a review that implied John Mortimer's career was on the slide because his latest short story had only appeared in something called Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. I rolled my eyes at this, since like many mystery fans I would crawl over broken glass to have something accepted by EQMM.

harriet said...

Congratulations! I just bought it and look forward to it very much. I love Allingham and envy you your signed first editions. Congrats to your wife, too.

Frances Brody said...

Congratulations, Martin. Have just ordered my copy and look forward to reading. Congrats to Helena too. Recently finished Allingham's Flowers for the Judge, odd but unputdownable.

Martin Edwards said...

Mike, I'm one hundred per cent with you on EQMM. Great magazine.

Martin Edwards said...

Harriet, many thanks.

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks, Frances. That's one I haven't read as yet.