Prizes and Pubs, Feb 2018

Louise Allan’s first novel, The Sisters’ Song, has become a bestseller for Allen & Unwin, Australia’s leading independent publisher.  Marie-Elsa Bragg’s novel, Towards Mellbreak (Chatto & Windus, Penguin) has been shortlisted for the Writers’ Guild Best First Novel Award and selected as a 2017 Book of the Year in The New Statesman. Both Marie-Elsa and Zillah Bowes will be reading at this year’s Hay-on-Wye Literary Festival in May – one festival, two Freefallers!

Meanwhile, Demelza Carlton’s fortieth novel, Blow: Three Little Pigs Retold, has garnered over 150 reviews on Amazon, in 97% of which it was given more than 3 stars. David Harrison’s “Jenny Parker” thriller series, begun at Poulstone Court, has been picked up by Endeavour Press, the UK’s “youngest, most dynamic and innovative publishing company”.

Elisabeth Hanscombe’s memoir, The Art of Disappearing (Glass House Books) was recently launched in Melbourne, to acclaim. Geoff Mead’s memoir, Gone in the Morning (Jessica Kingsley) is subtitled “A Writer’s Journey of Bereavement” and chronicles his life after the death of his wife, Chris Seeley. His story, Bear Child, created for Chris when she was dying, is about to be released by Floris as a children’s book, beautifully illustrated by Sanne Dufft. (Chris, who introduced Geoff to Freefall, is sorely missed by everyone who knew her, and it is a comfort to have her commemorated in these inspired and inspiring ways.)

Fran Turner’s short story, “Rotten Tomato”, started two years ago at Maryholme, has been published by the Irish online journal, Dodging the Rain  . And Kelly Watt has signed on with Megan Beadle, of the Beadle Literary Agency, to agent her absorbing new young adult novel, set in India.

March, 2020, Prizes and Publications

Zillah Bowes was one of four poets shortlisted for the £10,000 Manchester Poetry Prize (2018). Her poems, and those of the other finalists, can be read on The Manchester Poetry Prize Website. (No prize for guessing whose poems I think should have won!).

Marie-Elsa Bragg has had a second book, Sleeping Letters, begun at Freefall, accepted by Chatto & Windus. It’s an innovative prose-poem of unique and memorable beauty. 

Susan Smith’s poem “African Drum”, won third prize in The Banister Competition of the Niagara Poetry Group, which included a cash prize, a reading, and inclusion on the 2018 edition of The Banister.  Marie Lauzier’s poem,“Not Again” was published in Another Dysfunctional Cancer Poem Anthology, from Mansfield Press. 

Heidi Croot’s flash fiction piece, “The House Fire” (written at a Freefall workshop in Portugal) has been accepted by LINEA, a journal of previously unpublished paragraphs of fiction (Simian Press).

December 2020, Writers news

I’m afraid that in the current flurry of online workshops, I haven’t been tracking news of Freefall participants’ recent publications as I should, and I welcome all reminders.

But I do know that my friend and former student, Patricia Moffat, has published the memoir about adoption that was begun in a Freefall workshop more than twenty years ago, with Crowsnest Books, entitled She Turned Her Head Away. It is the thoughtful and well-written story of what can happen when an adopted child decides to look for – and finds – her birth mother. It’s an absorbing book that I hope will also serve as an inspiration to everyone who has a manuscript tucked away somewhere, along with a thousand reasons not to send it out.

In England, Charlie Morris, a former Financial Times sports editor, has published a football memoir, Generation Game, last year to good reviews, after attending a Freefall Writing Workshop at Poulstone Court in 2013.

And Australia’s Deborah Huff-Horwood reports “a small but joyful success”: having had her story, The Suitcase”, cited as Highly Commended among entries for the AAWP—Ubud Writers and Readers Emerging Writers’ Prize.