It was great to receive the Bill Rollinson Prize at the Cumbria Book Of the Year Awards earlier in the year, especially as I was able to be at the fabulous award event in Glenridding. I also got very great satisfaction about being nominated for the Boardman Tasker Award. Although obviously disappointed to not be on final shortlist of six, it was still something I would have struggled to believe if you had told me a few years ago it would happen.
After this the The Great Outdoors Awards were slightly bizarre. So, in these awards some (gear) are judged, and others voted for by the public (including the Outdoor Book of the Year category). After nominating my own book (which is allowed) I then encouraged a few friends to also nominate it as well. When it made the shortlist of ten it was opened to a public vote to decide the winner. After hesitating for a nanosecond or two to consider the ethics of my action, I then used every electronic and social media channel available to me to ask friends to vote for it. I received an invite to the awards ceremony and had the (probably unnecessary) thought that NOT saying I was going to attend might just possibly ‘exclude’ me from the possibility of winning. Anyway, many friends agreed to vote, and I booked the train to Kendal and took time off work to attend the awards ‘do’. I was able to combine this with a visit to Kendal library to do some more ‘Book II’ research.
The awards ceremony was held in Burgundy’s Wine Bar/Brewhouse which was intimate and had impressive brews. I fell into conversation with a couple of other writers, Chris Townsend (fellow Sandstone Press author) and Alex Roddie (who is self-published), and then the presentations started. Apparently over 10,000 votes were cast. For the book of the year the 10 nominations were read out and then the top three were revealed in reverse order. Alex Roddie pulled in third, and I was announced as second. Alan Hinkes took the award for his book ‘8000 metres’. No shame in being second to such a prominent figure, and now I can’t help wondering how much e-hustling he did. Maybe he just has more friends than me!
4wards: while all this has been going on ‘It’s a hill, get over it’ has been selling pretty well. As I write this the paperback is 8,725th ranked book on the Amazon website (and the hardback still 20,689th), and it is available in good bookshops in the run up to Christmas (Waterstones in Kendal illustrated to left). But equally importantly I am moving 4wards. I have written a good deal of the manuscript for the project still known as Book II. I have now agreed and signed a contract with Sandstone Press for publication next Autumn. The book title has been firmed up and a full announcement will be made once the publisher’s information is compiled and available.