Opened my e-mails the other morning to find a message from a very nice lady called Saara (yes, definitely double 'a', in case you were wondering), who represents the American Library in Paris Book Award, something, I confess, that I’d not heard of (of which I’d not heard..?).
Anyway, for a novel to be eligible for the 2015 award and to be considered by the Committee of Award Screeners, a nominated book has to have been written originally in English and be about France or the French-American encounter. It must also have been published between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015.
At which point, I thought, uh oh.
Because the book they were interested in was Rebellion. Set in Paris (so far, so good), it involves Hawkwood in the real-life events which took place in October 1812, when a handful of renegade French generals attempted to seize the city – and, ultimately, the Empire – while Bonaparte was in Russia.
Unfortunately, the novel came out in the UK in 2009. The American edition, which might have crept in under the radar, came out in January 2014.
Drat. A classic example of ‘so near and yet so far’.
Especially as it would have looked great on my CV and the prize is fab:
The winner of the award receives $5,000 and an invite to Paris, with air travel and accommodation at the Library's expense, for an award ceremony in late autumn and other Library functions, including a public reading. All the nominated books are added to the American Library in Paris's permanent collection - showcased in a special display in the Library for six weeks during the autumn of 2015 and placed on display at the award ceremony. All nominated authors receive an invite to the ceremony and are also considered for a reading at the Library.
What’s that old saying – it’s nice to have been nominated?
On this occasion, I didn’t even get that far, but it was a cracking thought while it lasted..!
ps..If you'd like to learn more about the library and its history click on the image.