OOOOH!! So Close… IWC Novel Fair 2014 Near Miss

In English, it’s often said ‘nearly never won a race’.

And in Co. Clare, where I’m from, we say ‘nearly never bulled a cow’.

Bovine or not, it’s the same thing, really. At the end of the day, having entered the Irish Writers’ Centre Novel Fair 2014, the results of which have just been announced, I was told I was unlucky 13th with my novel Statistical Anomalies in the Probability of Love.  Top of the longlist, but unfortunately not short enough.

(All together now: Awwww!)

12 finalists get through to schmooze and flirt with all the agents and publishers wielding the Sceptres of Power, but I will be holding the bouquet, fetching the coats from the cloakroom and minding the handbags during the slow set. You know yourself.

Still, I kinda like ‘Nearly’. It’s an awful lot better than Not. Or Never, No Way, or Naked  (most of the time).

I can’t but feel, however, that brighter days are coming just a little bit closer, seeing that in 2012, I also had the pleasure of being longlisted with my first novel In June, but somewhat further down the list. So I’m getting there, and have retired my armies to rest up and cultivate their beards before Novel III is unleashed upon the competition battlefield later in 2014.

There were 10 Highly Commended entries as follows:

Summer of Stan by Anthony Brophy
Railway Park by Erica Coughlan
Child of the Slums by Aisling Cronin
Rising by Brian Kirk
Essex Road by Guy Le Jeune
Jesus of the Lavatory by Donall Mac Lochlainn
Loyalties by Niall McCann
Happy-Cry with my Brilliant Life by Paul McCarrick
Tider by Sinead O’Hart
Statistical Anomalies in the Probability of Love by Tara Sparling

In the meantime, sincere and excited-watch-this-space congratulations to the 12 shortlisted writers listed below, who will pitch their books on the 22nd February. May you dazzle with your pitches, and dine out on your success!

Colm by Evan Cody
Wolf by Simon Fay
Botox For Dancers by David Flitton
Out of Nowhere by Alan Gorevan
Stolen Sister by Geraldine Hogan
The Edge of Heaven by Rachael Kelly
Eggshells by Caitriona Lally
The Shadow of Darcy Anne by Blathnaid Nolan
Letters to Lucy by Nathan O’Donnell
Dawn in Temper by Lisa Parker
North to Midnight by Grey Phelan
The Silver Girl by Aine Tierney

  21 comments for “OOOOH!! So Close… IWC Novel Fair 2014 Near Miss

  1. January 29, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    Tara, I think congratulations are definitely in order: a Highly Commended is not to be sniffed at! You’re another rung higher on the ladder, so make sure and celebrate that achievement!


    • January 29, 2014 at 2:05 pm

      Thank you Mary! I fully intend to celebrate it! Unfortunately they frown on drunkenness in my office. But I will stay strong.


  2. johanna buchanan
    January 29, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    Awww it’s awful to have a near-miss like this. But it is still GREAT to get so far. Big congratulations to you. Well done Ms Sparling!


    • January 29, 2014 at 8:17 pm

      Not so awful, Johanna. I mean, it’s not like me to be positive. But I actually smiled earlier. I had to stop, before someone noticed 🙂


  3. January 29, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    Well, I’m thrilled for you and I think it’s still a great achievement, to be Highly Commended, so very well done. A prelude to bigger and brighter things, methinks.


    • January 29, 2014 at 10:34 pm

      Ta, Book Nanny. Your appointment as spin doctor is hereby confirmed, by the way 🙂


  4. January 29, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    Congratulations on getting so close. Next time you’ll get there.


    • January 29, 2014 at 10:33 pm

      Thanks, Bridie! And even if it’s the time after that, or the time after that… it’s all about keeping on!


  5. January 30, 2014 at 11:03 am

    I found your blog through twitter and the IWC announcement. Your blog is fascinating – just having a look through old posts of yours this morning and I can’t get my nose out again to do some work! Congratulations on your long listing – like yourself, I did two years on the long list, but made winners list this year. So hopefully you’ll make it next year – or even better, won’t need it after putting your novel on submission. Best of luck! Áine


    • January 30, 2014 at 11:22 am

      Thank you Aine for your kind comments, you are a lady and a scholar! My fingers crossed for you very very tightly on the day of the book fair. Do you know, I think yours is by far the most satisfying success story – 3 years in succession with 3 different novels and not doing too shabbily at all until you’re finally 3rd time even luckier than the other 2! I’ll be watching this space for your book launch…

      Now – back to work, both of us. But do come and visit again 🙂


  6. January 30, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    Commiserations but congratulations. Fantastic achievement.


    • January 30, 2014 at 10:08 pm

      Thank you muchly! I like to think so anyway. If you didn’t see the encouragement in this sort of thing, sure you’d just stop!


      • January 31, 2014 at 12:21 pm

        I do love the title. Did you consider and discard calling it ‘The Love Stats’?


        • January 31, 2014 at 12:24 pm

          I did, until I realised it sounded a bit like bad rap. I would much rather make good rap. Like they do in Limerick, for example.


  7. January 31, 2014 at 11:39 am

    If you haven’t got a string of near-misses, also-rans, pipped-at-the-posts and over-the-crossbars in your long march towards publication, then you ain’t trying hard enough. Wear ’em with pride, Tara.


    • January 31, 2014 at 12:02 pm

      Thanks Nigel – getting the T-Shirts printed as we speak!


  8. February 25, 2014 at 12:45 am

    Tara, Keep at it, girl, you’re doing well–and persevering. Highly commended is good–and I do know it’s hard to be so near and not make it–and have the publication that accepted your story go under before it could be published–and then have it happen again to the same story! (It did make it into print finally ’cause I’m stubborn.)


    • February 25, 2014 at 9:37 am

      Thank you! Although I don’t think it’s stubborn when we mean determination in the face of adversity! I’m sure there is another word for that… well done you on taking the hits and soldiering on regardless. That’s exactly what I mean to do… I’d rather not have to make it my mantra though, all the same, but we can’t always get what we want!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: