I’m not very good at competitions.
I am a coward, preferring, most of the time, to keep my head below the parapet, out of the firing line so I can avoid any risk of losing. I could never, for example, stand for election for anything.
My father stood several times as a Prospective Parliamentary Candidate through the 40s, 50s and 60s but he never won – he was a Liberal and in those days (as today?) it was a very unfashionable political position. No. I could never stand for election.
But I do go in for some easy forms of competition.
Several years ago I won the bonus ball at two pubs, the Sunday meat raffle and the Giant Easter Egg Draw – all in one week. This week I won the pub bonus ball, and I’ve drawn Costa Rica in the World Cup sweepstake (stranger things have happened!), but I don’t see those as proper ‘I only win if I’m better than everyone else who’s entered’ competitions.
I have won two of those, though in neither case did I actually put my name forward. In 1968 I was awarded the Sixth Form Prize for Geography at my school (Birkenhead High, and I still have the atlas I won) and in 2006 my first book, The Last Dance, won the David St John Thomas Prize for self-published fiction. The £250 I won for that was more than eaten up by the cost of going to Harrogate to pick up the cheque.
Now I’m breaking the habit of a lifetime and entering my work (myself?) into a real competition.
Last week I submitted my fourth book, Highly Unsuitable Girl, to Guardian Legend Self-Published Book of the Month competition.
Fingers are crossed……..