Or should that be:
I feel very honoured to be chosen as the second winner of the Luke Bitmead bursary.
Last night was simply wonderful - the atmosphere at the event was warm and friendly, and before the announcement we all chatted and got to know each other. I spoke with finalists Garlen Lo & Catherine Scott, both of whom had great sounding novels, and then got to meet Elaine & Tiffany, Luke`s mother & sister.
Luke tragically died in 2006, aged just 34, and his family established the bursary to ensure that Luke`s name & memory lives on. The bursary was set up to encourage & support the work of struggling talented writers.
Possessing the strength and optimism to turn such a sad loss into a positive venture is a very special thing, and Elaine is obviously an emotionally courageous woman.
When the winners were announced, I just burst into tears. I couldn`t help it - the whole event just felt so charged with feeling, and of course I am grateful that the judging panel liked my book. The Woman before Me will be published by Legend press in summer 2010!
Andrew Blackman, last years winner with his novel On the Holloway Road, gave a heartfelt speech about how, though he had not met Luke, he is a apart of his life because of the bursary.
I also enjoyed chatting to Legend press, Tom Chalmers & Lucy Boguslowski, and to writers Zoe Jenny & Sam Mills.
Such an inspiring group of people, such a special event.
I feel very blessed.