A woman walks into a creperie and says, “So, I found this troll…”
More on that later.
But first – Bristol! Bristol is really nice. Rach and I went there to find out more. We discovered that the buses are awesome and it has good places to eat. It also has lots of interesting art on the sides of buildings, and a zoological gardens (see below for evidence).
But the reason we had chosen this weekend to go to Bristol was the fact that I had been shortlisted for the Bristol Short Story Prize (hurrah!) and this Saturday was the awards ceremony and book launch, held on the fifth floor of the Arnolfini, an art space by the docks.
Before the awards ceremony there was lots of time to mill around and meet the other shortlisted writers as well as the organisers, judges and everyone else who turned up – a wonderful group of people, all of whom were very friendly and interesting (I would try to name everyone but I would be sure to forget someone I meant to remember, and that wouldn’t be right).
After speeches from the organiser Joe Melia (who did a fantastic job of keeping us all in the loop throughout the whole process – I think ‘gusto’ was the word Paul used), Vanessa Gebbie (who handed out the prizes and whose wise words on the evening were perfect) and the chair of judges Ali Reynolds (who we should all thank for getting us there in the first place) the winners were announced.
Third place went to Anne Corlett (well done), second to Deepa Anappara (Well Done) and first to Paul McMichael (WELL DONE). Paul did extremely well to put together an impromptu speech, and then seemed to be in a state of shock for the next two hours.
It was time for the group photo:
And one of me and Rach:
Afterwards there was more time in which to mingle and attempt to finish up the last of the free wine. I was also asked to sign two copies of the book, which was quite thrilling!
We moved en masse to a place down the road called Renato’s for pizza and drinks where we stayed until everyone was good and giddy and / or tipsy – it was quite difficult to tell whether it was the alcohol or the good vibes that seemed to be having their effect on everyone. Writing is a very solitary activity for much of the time – I certainly go months at a time without meeting anyone who has ever written a short story – so when a group of short story writers / editors / enthusiasts get together there tends to be a lot to talk about – throw in a handful of illustrators / animators / enviromentalists / librarians / investigative journalists and there’s even more to discuss. It was great to meet and spend time with you all.
We made the short trip back to our hotel and I managed to end a busy day by finding time to read a few pages of the anthology before it was time to turn out the light.
Anyway, back to the story of the troll and the creperie. Whilst we were walking between the Arnolfini and Renato’s on Saturday night, Rach noticed a troll on the pavement and decided to pick it up. This is what it had to say for itself:
So this morning we had a trip to a very small creperie (the world’s smallest, according to the sign) to return the little fella to his rightful place, and we also got a free coffee and decided to have crepes for breakfast. Thankfully I managed to dissuade Rach from taking a picture of me with half the contents of my nutella crepe smeared across my face, otherwise I would be duty bound to include the photograph here.
Then it was time to make our way home to the wee island, me clutching my copies of Volume 6 of the Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology, which I intend to show to everyone I know, and which I am looking forward to reading.