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