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Wednesday, November 21, 2007 4:34 pm
Inspiration for Aspiring Novelists
Posted by: Keir Graff

From the Independent, a story of perseverance rewarded–and possibly awarded (“Novel shortlisted for top award was rejected by 15 publishers,” by Arifa Akbar). Sounds like an interesting book, too.

The frustrated efforts of Catherine O’Flynn, a former postwoman who tried and failed 15 times to get her work published, were finally rewarded yesterday when her first book was shortlisted for the £25,000 Costa Book Awards.

O’Flynn, 37, whose novel, What Was Lost, was turned down repeatedly before it secured a publishing deal, began writing while working long hours at a shopping centre. The plot revolves around a security guard with a sleep disorder who goes on a quest for the truth after seeing a child who had disappeared 20 years ago on a CCTV camera.

View the rest of the Costa shortlists here.




4 Responses to “Inspiration for Aspiring Novelists”
  1. Pete Says:

    Nice. I’ll thumbtack that article on the wall by my writing desk, right next to the large space I’m clearing for rejection letters for my first novel.

  2. Keir Says:

    A number of people have remarked that 15 rejections isn’t that unusual for a first novel, which is true enough. However, I’m guessing that not too many of the hard sells end up on shortlists. Good luck with your book, Pete! What’s it about?

  3. Pete Says:

    By purest coincidence, it’s about an unpublished writer. But the writer character is not, by any stretch of the imagination, based on myself – in fact, he’s almost my diametric opposite.

  4. Keir Says:

    Also coincidentally, I’ve written a novel about an unpublished writer, too. Alas, it’s still unpublished.

    Maybe we should get together and publish books about unpublished writers. Our audience? Unpublished writers, natch.

    Best of luck. I hope to hear about your book again.

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