We went to the award ceremony yesterday for all the short listed writers and it was very nerve wrecking waiting for the winner to be announced. They were 11 writers short listed from hundred of entries all hoping to win the prize. The MC started by introducing/announcing the runners up from no. 11 and moving forward. Idiot that I am sometimes, I got a little lost with what was happening and when they got to the 2nd runner up and my honey's name hadn't been called, I felt so sad for him and was thinking that I was going to have to do a lot of consoling and shoring up when we got home. I was therefore completely caught off-guard when they actually announced him as the winner. We were the only two people in the room sitting (cowering to one side of the room is more accurate) during the awards, so poor bloke had to struggle to his shaky feet and try to propel himself through a ton of people.
He gave a really lovely acceptance speech talking about always wanting to be a writer and having given up a lot for his dream and how gratifying it was to finally be recognised. It was a really amazing moment.
I am especially proud of him because we've been together for a good part of his journey and I know how hard he works. Here's a little synopsis of his story, after he graduated from Oxford with a very impractical history degree he knew he wanted to write as a career but wasn't sure how to go about it and needed to start earning money, so he took a job with Citigroup, which trained him to be a corporate banker and after a couple of years in London transferred him to Citigroup's Wall Street office in New York.
This is where we met and clicked because among other things we were both creative types who were out of place in that environment. I actually was just passing through on my way to graduate school and encouraged him to chuck banking and do the one year masters in Journalism at Columbia University. He eventually did it and that turned out to be a fantastic program for him because it got him into the discipline and habit of writing.
When he graduated he went to work for the Wall Street Journal. He loved working with them but financial writing was not exactly what he had been yearning to do and during his third year with them, he would get up at 5am every morning and write for two hours before he went to work. Doing this he finished his first novel in a little more than a year. After that he decided that he wanted to dedicate himself to writing fiction. We moved back to London and he took a job as a temp working three 12 hour shifts a week and using the remaining four days of the week to write and send out his writing to try to get it published.
Like all writers, actors, artists he has known some serious rejection and I know many times he looked at the downward trajectory of his life from corporate banker to temp and felt like a victim of his own delusions but he kept his head down and pressed on and now he is at the beginning of what I hope will be a long and fruitful career for him.
I won't tell you much about his book here but if I'm still blogging when it comes out next year, I'll definitely announce it.