Look what landed in my hands, just in time for Christmas - a first place in literary fiction ribbon from the 2019 Somerset/Chanticleer International Book Awards (CIBAs). As book prizes go, the CIBA ribbon is the largest and most beautifully crafted memento I have seen, a wonderful adornment for my tree.
Some may recall that I entered my novel, Cooperative Lives, in the CIBAs shortly after publication. By January 20, 2020, it had advanced from the "infamous slush pile" (the award committee's actual phrase) to the long list. Cool, I thought. Two more strokes of good fortune and I'll book a flight to the Chanticleer Author's Conference and Award Banquet in Bellingham, Washington, held each year in April. Alas, COVID struck, the conference was postponed twice, and it was eventually replaced by a series of remote Zoom lectures, cocktail parties and award announcements. Many of the lectures were excellent, but nothing beats meeting fellow authors in person.