Some weeks ago, out of the blue, I received a letter from The Society of Authors . It saidI had been awarded a Travelling Scholarship of £1,500. The judges , Lisa Appignanesi, Jim Grace, Kay Dunbar, Mark McCrum and Caroline Moorehead had decided. A full list of the awards and winners can be seen here.
As it happens I didn’t win awards at school. I don’t think this means I achieved less but that I achieved less visibly. My focus was attuned to other more immediate demanding matters that triggered adrenalin to stimulate survival extinct which propelled yours truly out of any measurable cycle of achievement and into something else altogether. But in a nutshell I left school with a few CSE’s.
Tonight I am in Mayfair, the most expensive property on the monopoly board, just a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace at The Cavalry and Guards Club . A photograph of the Queen greets me in a polite reception room as I ascend a red carpeted stair case. The banister is an ornate crest of wrought iron topped with smooth oak. A kind woman ushers me to a name badge. I get a glass of elderflower water. In a short while PD James (Baroness James of Holland Park) stands at the podium and the prize giving begins.