My short story The Anniversary recently won the City Writes competition. So I was very excited (and a tiny bit scared!) to do a reading at a special event at City University London.
I was in excellent company with fellow winners Katy Darby and Bren Gosling as well as guest author Luiza Sauma. Katy is an award-winning writer who runs the live fiction event Liars’ League. Bren’s stories have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies. Luiza read an extract from her new debut novel Flesh and Bone and Water.
The competition was organised and hosted by Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone. Rebekah is a published author who is teaching creative writing at City whilst working on her second novel.
I wrote the first draft of The Anniversary during a brilliant creative writing course run by the Literary Kitchen. I’m very grateful for the valuable feedback I received during the course from tutor Andrea Mason and all the students (pictured below).
The story was inspired by the Thomas Gainsborough portrait Mr and Mrs Andrews at the National Gallery. Although it was painted in 1750, I think the couple look surprisingly modern.
This was the first time I’ve read my own work publicly and despite the intimate setting, I was very nervous. My knees started actually shaking mid-recital! How ridiculous. What a lovely evening!