Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Glad tidings

I’m happy to relate that The Arsenic Labyrinth has been short-listed for the Lakeland Book of the Year award. This is an award conceived by the celebrated Cumbrian author Hunter Davies, whose The Good Guide to the Lakes is one of my key reference books. I’ve never met Hunter Davies, but I’ve read his books and journalism for many years. The award is open to books of all manner of descriptions, and last year the winner was a major biography of Beatrix Potter.

This means that I’m in the (for me) unprecedented position of being in the running for two prizes to be announced in July. The first rule in these situations is, no doubt, to manage one’s own expectations so that it doesn’t come as a psychological blow if and when one does not win. This isn’t a problem: I mentioned in an earlier post that being among the runners-up is a familiar experience.

My mood, though, has definitely been lifted by the two short-listings. It is good to be in contention, because the nature of writing is such that one can so easily persuade oneself that there are very few people out there taking an interest in one’s work. This is all the more so in the current climate, when newspapers are much more reluctant to review mid-list titles than was the case ten or twenty years ago, and I see with dismay that a number of very good writers whom I much admire are currently without a publishing deal. The Arsenic Labyrinth was widely and warmly reviewed in the US, but attracted less attention on publication in the UK, so it's good for it to have this recognition.

Part of the appeal of doing this blog has, indeed, been the chance to make contact with people whom I didn’t know before. It’s been a wholly positive experience as far as I’m concerned. In fact, it seems to me that a number of good things have happened since I started blogging – so my thanks to everyone who has encouraged me. Your helpful feedback has been more beneficial than you might imagine.


Juliet said...

Wow, congratulations AGAIN! These nominations are coming in thick and fast, and deservedly so.

Was very interested to read your comment on Maxine's blog on the matter of convincing female protagonists by male writers, and good to know that this time next year (?) Hannah will be a serious contender. (But I agree with Maxine - Daniel is a great character as well, so hope he is not going to be fading TOO much into the background when Hannah steps to the fore!) (Tsk, one's readers are just SO demanding - what's a writer to do?!)

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks, Juliet. You're one of those whose encouragement has been a great help.
The way things are going with the new book, though, it may be this time next year before I finish it!
However, I promise that Daniel won't fade too much into the background.

Kerrie said...

Well done Martin. I liked The Arsenic Labyrinth.
My review is at http://paradise-mysteries.blogspot.com/2008/03/arsenic-labyrinth-martin-edwards.html

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Martin.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Martin, what a wonderful piece of news. Now I must get on and read Arsenic Labyrinth which is on my shelves upstairs. I nearly started it at the weekend but somehow I acquired a rather strange book-review assignment so I am having to complete that first.

I am fascinated by what you write about Hunter Davies. Many years ago, I read a piece by him in a newspaper (maybe the Times) about Spurs football team. I was not interested in football and had never heard of H D but I was transfixed by the article. I even read the book (The Glory Glory Game) when it came out. I gradually realised H D's lake district connection, and even eventually worked out that another author whom I like very much is his wife (Margaret Forster). I haven't really kept up with his journalism but I do see the occasional article by him and always read them with interest.

Next up, maybe you could write about Melvyn Bragg, whom I have on good authority went to a very good school. (In Wigton, also attended by a future celebrity biophysics professor now at Kings College London.)

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks, everyone. Kerrie, your review was much appreciated.
Maxine, I confess that I know Melvyn Bragg through his tv show more than through his novels, though I did like The Maid of Buttermere.

Sarah Hilary said...

Many congratulations, Martin!