Do you remember I asked you a few months ago to vote for me in the finals of the Voiceless Writers Prize? Out of 350 stories I’d been shortlisted in the top ten by J.M. Coetzee and the judging panel. Well I won the Readers’ Choice!
(I was torn between writing this and sounding like I was showing off, and not writing it and seeming, or in fact being, ungrateful. I am very grateful. So: thank you for voting for me.)
My story is called Not Long Now. People have said it’s quite dark, but it doesn’t seem that dark to me. It’s now in a book with the other nine stories, including the two really good ones which shared the judges’ prize. You can buy the book, and it’s on Kindle. 25% of royalties help fund Voiceless’ work to end the institutionalised suffering of animals.
A beautiful package arrived from Texas this morning from Leigh Patterson. The first volume of her thoughtful, complex, elegant journal, synonym - I’m afraid my iPhone photos above do not do it justice. The theme of Volume 1 is ennui; Vic and I are in it talking about how we went freelance in order to focus on our own work, but it’s not the creative paradise we imagined. (As they say in the classics: mo so-called freedom, mo problems.) I’m savouring the other contributors’ work – including some stunning photography from Brian Ferry. Leigh and Amelia have done an incredible job. Buy synonym here.
A piece of short fiction I wrote about a kangaroo is in the finals of a short story competition run by Voiceless, Australia’s animal protection institute. There’s no way I will win the actual competition, but if you vote for my story Not Long Now I could win the Reader’s Choice Award! Explore Voiceless’ site, because they do good work; consider buying the ebook for $1.99, and please cast your vote at the Reader’s Choice page. Thank you!
Image of Ella Campbell, above, by Andrew Braithwaite for WHY?
I’m at Cannes Lions right now, covering it for Nextness. I have been to this “Festival of Creativity” three years in a row now (an opportunity for which I am genuinely thankful). And each time I feel hugely conflicted about advertising and its value in the world. I understand that people are here to present the best work they’ve done over the past year, and that they are understandably excited about it. And yet, I think more than ever advertising could do with a bit of insularity and thoughtfulness, and a bit of quiet.
So Vic (you know her from her beautiful blog) and I decided to do a little project while we’re here. Called WHY? it’s our attempt to get at the real reasons why people work in advertising, why they persist in doing so despite the occasional lows, and why they think it’s valuable. Some hate advertising. Others think it’s a selfish occupation. Some say for all its faults, advertising’s brought about positive change. And for a young creative person, it’s a fast (though perhaps not the best) way to monetise their creativity. We’ll be adding to it over the festival.
If you work in a creative industry, I wonder if you feel the same conflict?