I had the pleasure of reading my short story Ellen’s 25th anniversary at the Bold Types Showcase at the Glasgow Women’s Library last week. The theme for all entries was ’25th anniversary’, in line with the Women’s Library’s momentous year, and submissions were invited in poetry or short story form.
Four poems and four stories were shortlisted from the submissions and I was thrilled, and somewhat surprised, to be among them. For anyone who knows me in a literary sense, I’m either all about short, or indeed very short fiction, or it’s about the long form either in novel writing, or scripting for documentary films.
Short story writing always feels so terrifying to me. It’s a discipline where you are compelled to deliver concisely and imaginatively, by creating characters and consequence that will have a lasting influence, despite only being in your readers’ heads for such a short space of time. It’s a real skill to create a life for them long after their moment on the page has passed.
I was pleased then to be shortlisted and to have the opportunity to read in front of an audience and a rather cool panel of judges in the form of feminist poet and activist Nadine Aisha, novelist and short story writer Moira McPartlin, previous Bold Types winner and newly published novelist Ethyl Smith, and GWL’s own librarian, Wendy Kirk.
Of the eight shortlisted works, I was the last to perform so I had the privilege of listening and watching as the creativity unfolded in abundance. All the entries were beautiful and so strong I cried more than once which is incredibly powerful. Giving in to your emotions as you lose yourself in someone’s story is quite something.
I didn’t win, but I really, honestly, didn’t expect to. My story, written in Glaswegian dialect from the point of view of a five-year old girl, isn’t for everyone. It did, however, go down incredibly well with the audience and one of the judges in particular was especially supportive.
Huge congratulations to the winners, you really deserved the wonderful plaudits and well done to the rest of us, it was a lovely night of sharing over words. Incredibly fitting, given that sharing our creations is one of many reasons why we write. More power to us.