My goal was to make 100 submissions to journals, competitions, funding bodies etc, and I came close this year with approximately 81 submissions made.
These 81 submissions yielded 9 successes and 38 declines. Twenty-three submissions still await their fates, and I withdrew 11 submissions after the stories were accepted elsewhere.
Of those 38 declines, I would say that 35 were 'oh well' moments, while the other three led to full-blown 'what is the point in going on I should just impale myself upon my pen' crises.
I am also disappointed in myself for not finishing the illustrations for the second Bruce the Cat book (working on them now!).
- I won the Mindfood Short Story Prize and was Highly Commended for the Sargeson Prize
- I received a 'Complete Manuscript Assessment' from the New Zealand Society of Authors and finished the manuscript for Pet, my collection of short stories
- I completed Local Legends, a series about Port Chalmers pubs
- I had stories published by Mindfood Magazine, takahē Magazine and The Valley Review (Massachusetts), and others have been accepted by Newsroom, Geometry and Cease Cows (USA) - look out for these in 2020
- I was asked by the Otago Daily Times to contribute to the Best Book in the World series (I picked Charlotte's Web)
- My story The Hoarder was included in Fresh Ink, and we had a wonderful book launch at the University Bookshop
- I was invited to participate in Little Landers Literature with the wonderful Robyn Belton again this year. Thanks Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature!
- I participated in a number of events including Iona Winter's fabulous Te Hau Kāika, and the Wild Imaginings Children's Writers and Illustrators Hui (with Fifi Colston!)
- The Holidays Act Amendment Bill that I have worked on with MP Ginny Andersen had its first reading in Parliament. You can watch it being read here, and check out a One News story here
- In a success / fail mix I was shortlisted for the Surrey Hotel Steve Braunias Memorial Writers Residency (success!), but didn't secure it (fail!). However, I was described by Steve Braunias as "real funny and super talented" (success!) ... and I am just realising now several months too late that I should have made that description my Twitter bio (fail!).
A tribute to David
Writing the 'Best Book in the World' piece was one of the highlights of my year, and a real testament to the wonderful man behind the series - talented journalist and really nice bloke David Loughrey. Unfortunately David passed away recently. I don't know what to say except David, in the short time that I knew you, you really enriched my world. Thank you.
Summary ... and hopes for 2020
Though I didn't get the exact feather in my cap that I really wanted this year, I did pick up a bunch of other very nice feathers.
In 2020 I hope to publish both Pet and Bruce Goes Outside (my second children's book), and get a little further along on my doctorate of professional practice.
A huge thank you to everyone who has supported me this year. I love Aotearoa's literary scene - everyone I've met has been so generous and kind. Wishing all of you a happy and successful 2020.