Well what an exciting and fun journey it’s been. Not least because I’d never actually heard of The Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize until Little White Lies and Butterflies made its long list, so imagine my delight when it went one step further and made the short list.
Of course this was all down to you, the readers, for being kind enough to vote for me in the first place and for this I really do thank you. Furthermore, according to commentators this is the first time a Chick Lit novel has ever made it this far in the competition, which by all accounts has to be an achievement in itself.
But that’s what makes an award like this all the more interesting because let’s face it, no-one likes a foregone conclusion when it comes to these things.
Although another interesting element that’s been evident to me throughout this Not the Booker process, is the reviewer versus reader issue.
On the one hand, it’s fair to say that the judging panel didn’t particularly like Little White Lies and Butterflies. One judge felt it was competently written and ticks all the boxes, another badly written, the lead reviewer not getting the book at all! But what they did agree upon was their dislike for the book’s protagonist, Lydia, a woman who makes an informed choice to flout the modern day norm of ‘having it all’. (See reviews here) To the point that some responders began to wonder if a few personal politics might be coming into play.
Yet amidst all of this, bone fide readers have enjoyed what Lydia has had to say. Not only did the book buying public place their votes to begin with, when I did a reading at the Wood Green Literary Festival, the audience response was wholly positive.
Me treating the audience to Chapter One
They understood the tone of Little White Lies and Butterflies, laughed out loud at its humour and some even made a point of talking to me afterwards, congratulating me on the book… although to be fair, this difference in reader/reviewer response was acknowledged by the judges when it came to choosing their overall winner.
(Fast forward to 17.50 to hear what the judges say about Little White Lies and Butterflies)
Naturally, this tells me that as an author I’ve done my job. I’ve written a book that readers rather than just reviewers can enjoy, which is why I’m proud to say I came third in the final public vote.
Kate Atkinson: Life After Life – 2
Neil Gaiman: The Ocean At The End Of The Lane – 2
Lucy Cruickshanks: The Trader of Saigon – 3
Suzie Tullett: Little White Lies and Butterflies – 20
Meike Ziervogel: Magda – 31
Zoe Venditozzi: Anywhere’s Better Than Here – 37
Of course, I’d like to say well done to everyone who took part in this year’s event – the authors, the organisers, the reviewers (who despite their harshness turned out to be lovely people) and the contributors. And a big congratulations to Kate Atkinson, whom the judges awarded the overall Not the Booker Prize 2013 for her novel Life After Life x