Listen to the waves before reading this blog. It’s 4am. I am juxtaposed on the edge of a moonless night dangling my feet in the sea. Listen…..
But above all The most exciting news is that I stopped smoking. It is all connected to The Booker Prize and Allan not Alan. Below is the The Booker Prize long-list on my kitchen wall.
After reading over 150 books as a ‘judge’ I realised I could quite easily read Allan Carr’s Easyway to stop smoking. Allan not Alan. So I read it in 2 hours and stopped smoking. No stress no withdrawal pangs. There’s no way I would have read the book had judging The Booker not taught me how to read at a pace.
I’ve judged many prizes: The Ted Hughes Prize, The forward poetry prize, The National Poetry Prize, The Arvon Prize, Cardiff poetry prize, John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, Bridport Prize, The Golden Man Booker…. etc. “Judging”, for want of a better term, is an opportunity to give service to writers. But The Booker Prize is the only prize that has saved my life.
The Booker is the best of all the prizes. It’s a game changer for the long-listed and short listed authors. But IMHO the winner, over their career, with book sales appearance fees and broadcast possibilities could earn a million pounds from The Booker. Talking of winners….. Emily Wilson Margaret Busby Sameer Rahim Lee Child and myself are re-reading each of the thirteen long-listed books. On September 8th we will decide on a shortlist of six. This is my screensaver for that zoom meeting.
It isn’t the sea you heard at the start of this blog. Listen again.
It is the sound of traffic outside my apartment at 4am. Since I stopped smoking my sleeping patterns have kaleidoscoped so I write.
My home is slowly coming together. I have been here a year. I blog as a place-holder for memory in lieu of the beautiful and characteristically unreliable narrator of family. It’s that simple. The facts of memory – there’s an oxymoron – are like the acts of family. Have a wonderful sunshine Sunday. Be kind.