January 03, 2008

Catherine O'Flynn Wins 2007 Costa First Novel Award

As an aspiring novelist, I have been asked a couple of times what my greatest challenge is in my career as a writer (currently working on a fiction thriller about an immigrant...). My answer has always been: getting a publisher! You probably consider that too as a major challenge and perhaps get discouraged and disheartened.

But negative emotions like that could dash one's dream to become an author, especially when several publishing agents have rejected your work. Some who are fortunate get accepted after writing to just a few agents. Good for them.

For one thing, most publishers are looking for what would sell big time. After all, that's why they are in business. So if that piece of work that you have labored for gets rejected once, twice, three times...maybe more, should you quit?

Do you really want to quit? Ok. Before you decide, read about the winner of the 2007 Costa first novel award, Catherine O'Flynn who got published after being rejected by 14 separate literary agents.

O'Flynn's novel, What Was Lost, was named winner of the 2007 Costa first novel award after being longlisted for the Booker and the Orange prizes, and shortlisted for the Guardian's first book award.

(See the winner of the 2007 Booker prize and the winner of the 2007 Orange prize).

Interestingly, the 2007 Guardian's first book award was won by Ethiopian-American Dinaw Mengestu with his novel, Children of the Revolution, that tackles fraught questions of identity, dislocation and loneliness through the life of an Ethiopian émigré in the US.

Hopefully, these few examples could motivate you to fulfill your desire to become an author and possibly a best-selling author.

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