Friday, April 16, 2010

Miranda Dickinson Gives Us Another View of The York Festival of Writing



Miranda Dickinson, who was short listed for Romantic Novel of the Year Award for her début novel FAIRYTALE OF NEW YORK, shares what it's like on the other side of the table…

The Festival of Writing in York was a bit of revelation for me – and not just because of the brilliant seminars, great atmosphere and wonderful location. It was the first time I had been asked to speak as a published author and, I have to admit, I was more than a little nervous about it. What was I going to say? Would anyone actually turn up to my session? And – perhaps most importantly – how on earth was I going to fill a whole hour??

I had been asked to talk about how my manuscript was discovered on Authonomy.com (who were partnering with The Writers’ Workshop for the Festival), together with my editor, Sammia (who was as confident about presenting as I was!). We had nervously worked out a basic running order for our hour, hoping fervently that anyone kind enough to attend would have lots of questions to ask. Talking about ‘my publishing journey’ still feels very odd indeed after so many years of being an impressively unsuccessful writer - I have to admit that I wasn’t entirely sure how to make ‘I was flippin’ lucky’ last for a whole sixty minutes!

Thankfully, our audience (yes - there was more than one!) arrived with lots of fantastic questions and the hour flew past. As we were in the middle of the discussion, it suddenly occurred to me how much my life has changed as a writer in the past year. Last year I was at a similar event in Birmingham, listening to Joanne Harris talking about her publishing journey – and I remember wondering if I would ever be the ‘other side of the table’ talking about mine one day… It just goes to prove the point I made at my session in York – if this dream of being published can happen to me, it can happen for anyone. I still feel incredibly lucky to be able to see my book on sale – and, more than that, to be editing my second novel right now before that too is published in November this year. Crazy, ridiculous but incredibly exciting!

It was wonderful to meet so many writers from the RNA at the weekend, including Katie Fforde (whose key note address on Saturday morning was thoroughly inspirational), Liz Fenwick, Jo Thomas and Susan Alison. I’m still at newbie at the RNA, but the lovely ladies made me feel very welcome.

But the best thing about the Festival of Writing for me was meeting so many passionate, big-dreaming writers and hearing about their work, which they hope to see published soon. It was an absolute honour to be asked for my advice and to be able to encourage people to keep believing in their publishing dreams. It reminded me, once again, to never take this gift of being a published writer for granted and fired me with enthusiasm for the manuscript waiting for me on my desk when I got home!

©Miranda Dickinson 2010

4 comments:

Liz Harris said...

I enjoyed reading your account of the York Festival, Miranda. I'm sure that these events become easier the more you do. It sounds as if your first such occasion went very well, though.

All the best for the new novel.

Talli Roland said...

Thanks for the report, Miranda! Great to hear what life is like as a published author. I'm sure your presentation was brilliant!

Julie Cohen said...

Miranda, I tried to introduce myself to you at the festival and congratulate you for your book and the RNA shortlist, and kept on getting sidetracked by people I knew, or not wanting to interrupt you with people you were talking with! Anyway, I'm glad the festival was so great for you—I love hearing about your thrill to be on the other side of the table!

Miranda Dickinson said...

Thanks so much Liz, Talli and Julie! I had such a great time in York and I'm really hoping that I get the opportunity to present again in the future :o)

Julie, I'm so sorry I didn't get to say hello to you in York! I'm coming to the Summer Party, so hopefully get to meet you then?

M xx