I knew it was coming. I'd signed a confidentiality deed swearing me to secrecy. Still, seeing myself with these amazing writers, and reading words I'd toiled and sweated over in print, made my stomach churn. How would my words read to an outsider?
I almost didn't submit my manuscript to the Vogel prize. It was the last year I was eligible to enter. It would be my first and last entry. The deadline to submit was midnight. I worked on my manuscript to the last moment. Submitted it at 11:58 p.m. I think it hit the Vogel inbox at 11:59. I wasn't even sure it quite made it in. So when I learnt over the phone that Inside the Tiger was a finalist, my hands trembled. It was completely, thrillingly unexpected.
Tomorrow night, I get to attend the Vogel Awards night. An incredible privilege, mixing with other writers and industry professionals. Making the Vogel shortlist has also meant finding an agent. And I didn't just manage to get an agent, but the agent of my dreams, Curtis Brown.
So no matter what the outcome of tomorrow night, I'm honoured to have been able to partake in the Vogel Prize. How fortunate young writers are to have opportunities for visibility in a literary world that is notoriously difficult to crack into.
I'm looking forward to meeting the winner and offering him or her a huge congratulations!