2009 – oh what a year.

Ahhhh. I sit down to write the last post of 2009. What a year it’s been. Whether you’ve dipped into this blog now and then, are new to it today, or have a regular subscription, thank you for coming to visit me, thank you for sharing some of my busy year.

2009 has been a year of books, boxing and living with  a poet, the rogue Neil Rollinson; it was the year of starting every day staring at the ginger cat opposite (hoping for him to be let in), teaching and travelling and attending the School of Life. It has been a year Trinidadian writers made waves here in the UK, a year where new literary  friendships came my way (Amanda Smyth and Robert Rowland-Smith) and also the year two literary  friends passed away, the poet John Fairfax, co-founder of Arvon and Tim Guest, a rising star of the literary world.

Book-wise, I launched two books. Yay! (One of them, twice in three countries). In April, in a bar in Notting Hill, with my co-editor and fellow author Courttia Newland, we launched  Tell Tales Four, The Global Village, a collection of short stories from around the world. Courttia then took the collection to The Royal Festival Hall in July,

Then, in July, at The Travel Bookshop in Notting Hill (yes, that bookshop), I launched my second novel, The White Woman on the Green Bicycle.  Two months later, at The Reader’s Bookshop, Maraval, Trinidad, despite 150 copies being held in customs, I launched the book again there. Phew. Meanwhile, Penguin, Australia, also launched the white woman in June. I’m pleased to report that sales are healthy and the paperback, due out in July 2010 is, pretty and has lots of nice reviews on the cover and inside.

2009 was the year I flirted briefly with pugilism at the All Stars Gymn on the Harrow Road. I kept being hit in the face, which is why it stopped!  It was also the year Mimi Khalvati was named in a wildcat Facebook campaign for the laureatship. It was the year I discovered tea pigs, took a part-time job in the Travel Bookshop, travelled to the South of France, twice for the current book. I visited the libertine resport of Cap D’Agde and went on a pilgrimmage to the cave of Mary Magdalene. I also returned to the Writer’s Lab in Skyros and Havana, Cuba to teach for Skyros Holidays. Crazily, and nearer to home, I made a pilrimmage around my neighourhod to the two black madonnas of Willesden.

2009 was a year of book launches and readings. I saw the fabulous DBC Pierre and Jeanette Winterston at the Royal Festival Hall, listened to an evening of readings of the winners of The Eric Gregory Awards. I saw my friends Roddy Lumsden launch his collection Third Wish Wasted, Anthony Joseph launch the fizzing and brilliant Bird Head Son, Sarah Hall launch the Man Booker long-listed How to Paint a Dead Man, Nii Parkes launch Tale of the Blue Bird.  Maggie Gee, neighbour and supporter also launched My Driver at Saki Books.  It was also the year of the Not the Booker debacle, a savaging by white middle class male journalists,  followed by rescue and support from family and readers.

2009 was also the year I wrote another book, a memoir, With the Kisses of his Mouth, and entered into a literary working partnership with my great friend and fellow author Emily Pedder once a month in the Welcome Cafe, Euston.

2009 has been a rich year. I can scarcely believe a new decade is about to begin. A recession is upon us and , for me, and for all writers, times are tough. Getting published and staying published is  hard even when times are good. I began my life as a writer ten years ago, in 1999, writing my first novel, sun dog, on an MA in Lancaster. I am pleased to be still here, still in the game, still writing and still full of mischief. Still in love with it all, and with a pile of books by my bed which never goes down. Sill staring at the ginger cat very day, who, as I write, is waiting patiently to be let in. He always gets in, eventually.

Meooow. Happy New Year.

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~ by moniqueroffey on December 31, 2009.

2 Responses to “2009 – oh what a year.”

  1. Hi Monique, your blog came to my attention because I have a google alert for Mary Magdalene. I love your writing and must look into your books. How wonderful that you visited MM’s cave! I know it. My mother is from around there. Is this a strange way to meet? Is there any way any more that is strange? In any case, from one writer to another, I raise my glass to you still in love with it all. Goddess bless. Valerie

  2. God bless and happy new year,
    Mxx

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