Jeremy Mogford Food and Drink Prize 2015 – Shortlisted

Last night I got a very exciting email from the organisers of the Jeremy Mogford Food and Drink Prize to sat that I have been short listed for the prize. To reach the final short list of 15 candidates out of 430+ entries on my first attempt has been a massive and much needed boost to my confidence and self esteem as a writer.

My head and my heart often disagree about the quality of my writing, and to make matters more frustrating they don’t always stick to the same sides of the argument. I know that my writing is good, because I’ve studied writing and I know how to identify good aspects of quality writing and can see logically that they do exist in my own work. But will other people see them and agree with their quality and significant? I also know that the submission rate for magazines and contests is huge, and while my work might be of good quality, much like any effort in the arts you need to be a stellar quality artist in order to get noticed. Being good is one thing. Being successful is something else.

While I love writing and I don’t think I could ever stop, there is a big jump between writing for yourself and putting your work out into the world for other people to read and judge, especially when it comes to big competitions like this. It’s like finally getting proof that you can swim in the rough and tumble of the ocean after getting used to peacefully wallowing in a small swimming pool or bath tub.

The prize is part of the Oxford Literary Festival and has a prize of £7500 for first place, so the next two weeks are going to be quite exciting while the final winner is chosen and notified.

The money would be lovely – I mean, of course it would! – but what’s more exciting is the idea that my work has been reviewed and selected from amongst a pretty talented and experienced batch of writers. Having a nice boost like this has reassured me that hard work and effort are getting me somewhere and I am not just shouting into a hurricane. I shall await the results of the Jeremy Mogford Food and Drink Prize with interest and will definitely be entering again next year.

Stay tuned for further news later this month!

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What I Learned From Cult TV – Fox Spirit Books

Absolutely delighted to introduce my essay for the Fox Spirit Books on the theme of What I Learned From Cult TV. For today this is on the front page at but you can also access to permalink here.

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Publication Success – ‘What I Learned From Cult TV’

Fantastic news this weekend.

Tomorrow, Fox Spirit Books will be publishing an article I submitted to them on the theme of ‘What I Learned From Cult TV’ – link to be provided as soon as the post goes live.

The article will also be collected into an anthology on this theme to be published in 2015.

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Publication #3

Nice email to wake up to this morning:

“Thank you for submitting your work to the UK Poetry Library.
Your poem has now been published at the following URL: ”

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So I took a big step today. Let me give you the backstory.

I started writing poetry when I was a child. I entered contests and often got placed, but didn’t win so much. I had a few things published in local papers and school press and so forth. Nothing to shout about, but nothing too shabby.

Several years ago (around 2005) I started uploading my poetry to a deviantart account. Whilst feedback was scattered, I did get some lovely comments and a substantial amount of likes for some of my work. Even more importantly I never got any negative comments.

Earlier this year I submitted a poem called ‘A House’s Worth’ to the ‘ufyh creates’* contest. It was reblogged a few times and got some likes, and even got a comment saying ‘Not bad for a random on the internet’.

I took some hope from this. It was a nice comment but I had also realised that I was getting a little tired of being just a ‘random on the internet’. This coincided with me starting to write a much greater volume of stuff and getting more feedback than ever on Deviantart. I discussed some of it with my former flatmate. My former flatmate also challenged me to send things off to publishers. And I love a good challenge. So I did.

I had two letters this week from different publishers asking to include poems I had sent to them in anthologies. And a hopeful sounding email from a third. To say that my socks had been knocked off doesn’t cover it.

Something in my writing has clicked in the last year or so, and I feel better about it than I ever have. Who was it who first said in order to write well, you need to write 10,000 words of crap first? I must have written double that and now I feel like what I’m writing is worth reading. But I also believe that my writing tells a story of my life and that to understand it all, you need to read it in sequence. As a collection, rather than a single entities. So I decided I would look at putting together a collection.

I’d heard of self publishing before and I discovered and decided that I would give it a go. As much to get hold of a printed and bound copy of the work I am most proud of.

And now … it’s done. I’ve edited the poems, ordered and collected them, uploaded the book and designed the cover that I’ve had in my head for a while. And now ‘Musings’ by Kate Jones (yes, you get my real life name for this entry) is available to buy from for £3 in the UK, or $5.29 in the US.

You can buy it here – just in case you were interested. There is a preview available to read a few to see if you like them:

So there we are. This year I achieved a lifelong dream of becoming a published poet. My work is going to appear in publishing collections and it is available for purchase in a printed volume, just the way I wanted it to be. I might not get paid very much, but any copies that do sell will give me a few pennies. But that’s not the point. It’s finally out there, to be read by people. And all at once, I feel rather proud, a bit teary, a little emotional and in need of a glass of wine.

Excuse me…

*(I have tagged this as ‘ufyh’ as a bit of a thank you to the person who runs the blog, for running the contest and giving me some exposure for my piece. It meant a lot, and has lead to a lot, and I probably wouldn’t have taken this step without it. So Thank You. Not just for helping me unfuck my habitat, but for inspiring me to unfuck my dream project and get it done. Thank You.)

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