Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Happy To Judge

At five o’clock this morning I slunk out of bed, gathered up my phone, three empty mugs and a pile of washing and made my way to the only place to go when the small hand is still registering ‘5’: the kettle.

Sometimes I put the washing on while the water boils, occasionally I pair odd socks but today, I read my emails. Skimming past the daily list of price reductions at local hostelries and hairdressers (engaging willpower of pandemic proportions as March is tightening-my-belt month), the daily call from a national blind making company (I’m not sure how many windows they think I have) and the weekly reminder from the French catalogue, of which, beautiful as the little girls’ dresses truly are, I can’t quite imagine my teenage children in white lace and purple velvet, I noticed that BBC Radio Two had been in touch.
I’d been hoping for this email.
‘Congratulations,’ it said, ‘you have been selected as one of our volunteer judges for 500 words 2013’ – which means that I will be scoring a batch of short stories in the first round of judging in Chris Evan’s massively popular children’s writing competition. Excited? I have floated down from the ceiling for a moment to explain why:
1. I was moved to real tears by the poignancy and brilliance of last year’s winning entries so decided way back in May 2012 that I would find a way to be involved this year.
2. There’s something about children, anybody’s children, doing something well that just makes me want to cry. I’m not sure I can explain why that’s a good thing but it’s certainly right up there with the list of happenings in my life which make me feel alive.
3. Because I would feel an irrational sense of pride if I happened to be the judge who put forward one of the eventual winning entries.
4. Because I might read the story of the next Francesca Simon (I think my daughter possibly was the biggest Horrid Henry fan), Anthony Horowitz, Malorie Blackman…
5. Because I am ever so slightly in love with Chris Evans (I’ve always been a sucker for a GSOH and a PMA). And maybe, just maybe, I’ll be one of the lucky winners of the golden tickets awarded at random to 25 of the volunteer judges who get to attend the live broadcast of Chris’ show at the Hay Festival on 31st May. I have a one in eighty chance of being a winner which, put like that, sounds like an odds-on cert, she says, finger hovering over the link for a favoured shopping website with the force-for-good clearing its throat loudly from its place on her shoulder, to remind her that it's belt-tightening-month. It’s ok, I have no time for shopping, I have three stories a day to read until the deadline of 22 March. 
Do you know any of the entrants? I wish every one of them the very best of luck. Whatever the results, I hope they’ll keep writing because winning entry or not, there are few things in life quite as fulfilling as writing stories.

I'm Celebrating The Small Things - click on the link to join us!

16 comments:

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    1. Thanks Annalisa! Are you a Chris E. fan? I have my friend poised to take May 31st off work, just in case we do hit it lucky on those golden tickets. She's a bit of a groupie too :)

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  2. Fantastic -can't think of a better Judge! ps please can you slip in one of your stories too!

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    1. Awww, thanks Antonia! Guess what, I've read them all already!! Once I started I couldn't stop (and I also thought it was the fairest way). Each had something to offer but the winning entry from my batch was never in doubt. Thanks for reading!

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  3. That is so cool! Congratulations! I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time reading all these intriguing and delightful stories:)

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    1. Thanks MJ! It's great fun reading them. All are entertaining and some are very impressive. Thanks for popping in!

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  4. How very exciting! Congratulations... I hope you win the chance to attend the live broadcast ;)

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  5. Thanks SK! It would be wonderful, I'll keep you posted!!

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  6. Well done. Enjoy all that reading and hope you get one of the tickets.

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    1. Thanks Charlie, let's hope so!

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  7. What a wonderful opportunity! I'm so glad you were chosen, and I'm sure it'll be great to be part of something you love. :-)

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    1. Thanks Lexa :) I've submitted my stories' results now and ddi really enjoy it. I wish I'd been given a few more to read!

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  8. Congrat's on getting to do something you love! AWESOME!

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    1. Thanks Yolanda! Now I've got my little fingers crossed for a golden ticket to the show! I'll keep you posted on that one!

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  9. So exciting, what a wonderful thing to do! I'm glad you enjoyed it, and fingers crossed you get that golden ticket :o)

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    1. Thanks Karen :) I think we find out at the beginning of May. Believe me, you'll know if I'm successful!!!

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