CWIP has a Home Birth - shock news!
Updated: May 29
So, when I got all grumpy five years ago, about there not being a woman’s comedy literary prize - I had no idea that my unfashionably bitter grumpiness could lead to this. The actual birthing of unpublished witty manuscripts. But it has! Clever witty writers such as Kirsty Eyre and Abigail Mann (to name but two from loads of entries) duly sent us their unpublished novels and Ta Da!
Today is publication day for Abigail Mann who was runner up with The Lonely Fajita (I’m not sure if this involves being athletic or just being quick on her feet to collect the award) – but CWIP must be doing something right – oh, and so is Abigail.
(Kirsty Eyre who won with Cow Girl is to be published by Harper Fiction in June (as an ebook) and in September (in paperback.)
Abigail accepting her runner-up prize at last year's CWIP prize shindig
This is our moment to reflect how actions speak louder than words (although the words are quite key as well). Needless to say, we are celebrating these successes because it would be rude not to.
I am sharing my usual David Attenborough style questions to get inside the mind of Abigail Mann - CWIP debut novelist.
1 Have you ever written in biro in a book and then felt that you’d committed blasphemy or were you OK about it?
I love scribbling in books, but only if they’re ones I’ve bought myself! I’ll often write ‘HAHA’ next to lines I find funny or little hearts next to great description. Actually, on second thought, I’ve definitely scribbled in books at university. I know this is bad. I KNOW. I blame my poor judgement on underestimating essay deadlines and possibly mainlining too much coffee on top of a hangover.
2 You can’t find the right words to make a sentence chime: do you (a) swear? (b) cry? or (c) eat? - if (c), what item of food?
All three, at the same time. I also pace a lot. Food wise, chocolate covered rice cakes. I have gone through an entire multi-pack in one sitting when things have been particularly rough.
3 Have you ever read anyone else’s bad review and felt slightly chuffed? (Lying is permissible in this answer.)
Yes. In fact, I seek bad reviews of ‘classic’ literature when I’ve had a bad one of my own to make me feel better. If Charlotte Bronte can get a one star review for Jane Eyre, I’m doing alright.
4 What was the first book you read that had sex in it ?
I can’t remember the title, but I remember the cover. My friend found it in a B&B on holiday and brought it back – I think we were about ten-years-old. Pink background, an open window of a French farmhouse pictured front and centre, and that stretched Times New Roman font that was popular in the early 90s. There was a scene involving polka-dot knickers and a shampoo bottle going places that shampoo bottles should never go – that’s hard to forget.
5 Enid Blyton or Noel Streatfeild?
Enid Blyton. Who would have thought that posh, neglected children make such good reading fodder for children?
6 Have you been to a book launch and talked during the speeches?
Only if it’s caused a window of opportunity to visit the unattended snacks table.
7 What made you write your fab fajita book? And do you still eat the little buggers ?
I wanted to write a book that featured an unlikely cross-generational friendship, but one where the older character was unfiltered and infuriatingly stubborn. The title The Lonely Fajita comes from a line in the book where Elissa reflects on how lonely it is to construct a fajita on your own – a food that is by its very nature communal. I LOVE fajitas. I’d eat them every day if I could.
Happy Publication Day, Abigail, from me and everyone here at CWIP!
Abigail and Helen in The Groucho with The Lonely Fajita
The Lonely Fajita by Abigail Mann is published as an ebook by One More Chapter, a digital division of Harper Collins with the paperback due out on 20 August and an audiobook planned.
The CWIP blog tour for The Lonely Fajita runs from 11 - 15 May and all the stops are below: