An entirely personal review of the year

Not the most original post for New Year’s Eve, I grant you, but it seems reasonable to reflect back on my most successful writing year so far. I made more than 3 times the number of fiction submissions I made in 2008, with 7 acceptances this year, 3 of them to paying markets, which was the first time money had come my way for writing. I also got paid in books for some book reviews for SFReader, and had some encouraging near-miss rejections. LeMat and I have had some successful collaboration (graphic novel well on its way to completion) with more to come, and of course his artwork’s found international success on its own. All in all a good year.

The downside to 2009 was the closure of Borders with its excellent magazine section, meaning that Interzone is no longer available in the shops round here, as well as various other writing or story magazines, particularly American imports like Asimov’s. Yes there’ll be a core subscription market, but there must be many others like me who would flick through a copy in the shop then buy it if something in the issue grabbed them, so there will be an inevitable loss of sales.

Last thing to mention is the death of Keith Waterhouse in September, author of (among many other things) Billy Liar, a good book which became a brilliant film (largely filmed in Bradford) which I’ve seen many times and which has had quite an influence on me. Big Brother of course introduced me to the film, though I read my dad’s copy of the book. Billy Liar showed me it’s possible to be obviously Northern and still be taken seriously (no matter what I was taught at school), long before I encountered Alan Bennett. David Peace seems to have been carrying on the tradition in fine fashion this year, and eventually I hope to join them.

Here’s to 2010.

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