My book, Eyo, was regionally shortlisted (Africa’s Best Book) for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize.
Of course, I’d dreamt about winning an award (which writer hasn’t?). I’d pictured myself on stage, strategic tears gushing down my cheeks as I remembered to thank the three people who brought me to that stage – me, myself and I – all the while gloating at the thought of every publisher and literary agent who’d ever rejected my manuscripts, lacerating themselves.
The reality, as I’ve discovered, is very different. The truth is, I was humbled that the judges considered my book worthy enough to make the shortlist, and I am grateful to the publishers and agents who turned my book down because, let’s face it, then, my work wasn’t ready and I was forced to grow as a writer.
Eyo was my fourth book (I’m now on number 9!) and being shortlisted felt great and scary at the same time.
In many ways, I felt like I was just beginning to be a writer (and I still feel like that). The difference is that, now, I’m actually just beginning to enjoy the ride.
Strange business, writing, isn’t it?