We returned to the Free Word Centre’s reception area for a short champagne-flavoured intermission.
Maggie Gee carried envelopes with all finalists names on them, mine on top. Inside, a postcard of a black cat and two men on a canoe carried her impressions of my story.
Friends soon arrived: naturalbornkaos and neenaw – two published authors who had thanked me in their books – and an acquaintance who I jokingly requested represent her workplace, the British Library, at my reading.
The third lucky charm, my boyfriend, wasn’t there by the time we were ushered back inside the theatre for the finalists’ readings.