prizes and fraud and all sorts

Let's be chronological about this:

Vivmondo (aka Richard Hirst) came second in the Manchester Fiction Prize! This is excellent: not only do I know Viv, but his story, School Report, is brilliantly creepy. You should definitely read it. Also, they created a special second prize place just for him. Fancy! The winning story, Days Necrotic, by Krishnan Coupland, is fantastic, so read that too - who'd have thought necrophilia could be so damn sexy? (I dread to think what that sentence is going to do to my Google ranking...) Click here to read the winners and the other shortlisted pieces.

Then, what? Well, myself and Seren went along to the Manchester Literature Festival as official bloggers for the Prize Culture event, a debate about literary prize culture (d'oh) that took place on the night of this year's Booker announcement. You can read my write-up here. Seren contributed by chewing on her cardigan, but I've got to say, she did that admirably. Julian Barnes took the Booker, of course, as I'm sure you all know; I haven't read the book, but to be honest, I'm wearying a little of the whole shebang. The books I've really loved this year didn't get anywhere near the Booker and what I did read of the shortlist (Pigeon English) I wasn't massively enthusiastic about. I'll read the Barnes eventually, probably, but I'm not rushing out.

Then, right, some utter bastard tried to hack into my Google Checkout to buy an iPad! I had a confirmation email about a transaction I knew nothing about, so I logged on and stopped it. The card associated with the account was an old, already cancelled one, so the payment hadn't gone through - ha! I called the bank, they said I was secure, so that's good; I reported it all to Google, who froze my Checkout account (irritating); I changed all my passwords, then called the police about attempted fraud and they hung up on me! Fuckers. So then I went online and got a number for the anti-fraud people, called them, gave all the details, and they logged it and advised me to get a credit report, which I did, blah blah, and anyway, I'm all fine. The twat who tried to hack me, though, had changed my Google delivery address to his/her own address:

111 lothair road 
LE2 7QE 

So, if you know who lives there, punch them really hard in the face/balls/whatever from me. Apparently the police won't do shit unless there was actual fraud - i.e., if they'd succeeded in buying their iPad, the cops would follow it up, but because the card payment didn't work, it's not an issue.

Well, onwards! Last Sunday, we went to the Literature Festival's Book Quiz - here's a write-up by Kevin Danson - and I'll give a high-five to anybody who can name the baby in the second-prize team, Five And A Baby... (hint)

Oh, AND! This was brilliantly unexpected. A German lit mag, WortMosaik, contacted me asking permission to translate and publish my story, The Girl in the Glass, which first appeared in PANK a couple of years ago. They'll send me two copies of the magazine when it comes out in December. High-five!

Evelio Rosero

My review of Good Offices by Evelio Rosero is live at Bookmunch.

A.S. Byatt review

My review of A.S. Byatt'Ragnarök is live at Bookmunch.

BBC National Short Story Award 2011 Anthology review

I almost forgot to link to this. My review of The BBC National Short Story Award 2011 Anthology is live at Bookmunch.

post-smut trauma

So my smut reading last Wednesday went well! Ben Judge's dolphin/lemur sex story did, however, make my baby cry - but at least we'll know exactly where her future psychological traumas originated, which should save us plenty on therapists' bills. Also: Socrates' story had an anus in it and one audience member left in protest. Brilliant.

Next: all of you should click here to read, 'In The Bush', an excellent story by Emma Martin, a very talented member of my online writing group. Best thing you'll read all day - promise.

Who entered the Myslexia novel competition? I didn't, what with the novel being in a massive state of unreadiness, but I'll be interested to see who wins. Another thing I didn't enter was the Harry Bowling first chapter prize, because, like the gold-plated fool I am, I left it till the last minute and didn't realise it was postal entry.

We went to the Book Barge on Saturday - it's moored in Manchester's Castle Quay until tomorrow and it's well worth a visit. They trade as well as sell, so you can bring along your own books and see if they'll do a swap - they'll also swap books for food and stuff, too, so get your bartery head on. There was a free acoustic gig on while we were there, too, AND it was a million degrees hot outside, so it was all remarkably summery for early October. Lovely!

That's about it. I haven't crashed the car yet. Seren's trying to eat Andy's laptop and I think she's got my speaker cable in her mouth. Ta ra.