Sunday, 6 December 2009

London, Paris and First Book

December is upon us, and how it's already whizzing by. I've got a particularly busy couple of weeks coming up so thought I'd drop in now while I have the chance and make a note of some of my recent London exploits...
  • The Guardian Public Services Awards at Old Billingsgate. Wow, what a venue. The place looked stunning and it was a great event with loads of worthy winners. I shared a table with a group of student volunteers from York and Hull, who went on to win the Citizenship and Volunteering Award (I knew in advance that they had won so had to keep my mouth zipped). 
  • Here I should be writing about an amazing bloggers' trip to Brussels I went on courtesy of Eurostar's Little break, Big difference campaign. I was unbelievably excited about it, but then I got an evil bug and couldn't go. I hear through the blogosphere that it was lots of fun, and Sian from Domestic Sluttery brought me back some posh chocolates, which was very sweet. Literally.
  • The December London Bloggers Meetup, sponsored by Symantec, was on Tuesday. Sian (see above) spoke at the event and provided us with some really useful blogging tips, and supplied us with yummy cakes.
  • The Guardian First Book Award ceremony was the following night. I felt privileged to meet the winner, Petina Gappah; a Zimbabwean writer who won the Award with her amazing short story collection, 'An Elegy for Easterley'. I'm in the middle of reading this now, and each story that I've read so far is incredibly moving, but laced with an underlying layer of humour and modest self-awareness. The judging panel described her writing style as 'deceptively simple' and I would definitely agree with this.

Speaking of short stories, my very own attempt at writing one will be 'critiqued' on Monday, and I'm cacking myself! As I've mentioned before, I attend a Writing Salon at the Hospital Club in Covent Garden, and this month it's my turn to have my writing scrutinised. Writing this blog is one thing, as it's for me more than anyone else and I'm not really bothered about what people think of my storytelling 'skills'. But with fiction it's different. Although my short story is based on me and a real experience, the way I tell the story is so crucial to the impact that I want it to have on the reader, that if I've written it badly it simply won't work. I may report back next week on the reaction it got. Or I may not, depending on how emotionally scarred I am from the experience...

Ooh, and today I received a rather exciting e-mail from the people at we are social. They're the ones who invited me to the aforementioned day trip to Brussels, and now they are offering me the chance to win un séjour à Paris (surely extra points for the French, eh?! Unless the French is wrong, in which case - ignore that). All I have to do is to write about what my dream weekend in Paris would be like if I had 1,000 to spend. Well, to be honest, my *dream* weekend in Paris would involve me being whisked away to the French capital by a decent chap who'd make me laugh a lot and forget my stresses as we wandered around random streets stumbling across little bars and getting nicely merry. But since that isn't likely to happen any time soon, I would have to say that I would absolutely love to take my Mum to the city and spoil her rotten. She's been an absolute legend this year and I would take her to a posh tea room, perhaps somewhere like here, then buy her something sparkly and try and squeeze in a show.

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