Another Weird Coincidence

I recently volunteered to be one of three judges for a writing conference in South Carolina.  I just finished reading the big box ‘o stories and novel excerpts yesterday.  Having spent some time with writers in South Carolina, I wondered if there were any stories by people that I knew.  There were no names on the entries, however. 

I was riffling through the entries and I found one that looked familiar.  In fact, I remembered reading it before…nine years ago at a castle in the Netherlands.  It was the first chapter of a novel by a Canadian woman who was living in France.  This woman, Lise Leroux, already had a contract for her first novel, which she’d sold with only a synopsis to Penguin.  I later read the book, One Hand Clapping, and I thought it was brilliant.  She called it a “contemporary fantasy,” and it involved, among other things, a woman who grew hands on her body after they were grafted onto her. 

I didn’t really think about this much before, but upon reading a review the other day in an online disability-related publication, I discovered that the woman in the story is autistic.  I wasn’t as invested in writing about disability when I first read it, but I intend to read the book again with this in mind.

In the meantime, I wish Lise the best of luck in finding a home for her second book.  (I withdrew from the judging of her story because I had preconceived notions about its greatness.) She is immensely talented and her first book was nominated for the Orange Prize.  Finding her entry in a box of submissions from South Carolina reminds me that I should take nothing for granted.  Getting one novel published does not guarantee that my next one will be.  Humbling, but true. 

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One thought on “Another Weird Coincidence

  1. Another coincidence … I ran into this website by accident, and was amazed to see you here (and that you had been involved in the conference in South Carolina!).

    Yes, you can never take publication for granted, and you are only as good as your current work. I hadn’t written for a long time after One Hand Clapping was published. I broke my back in a rather awful accident and spent a long time recovering. I also moved from the UK / France to the US during the past year. I’ve just started writing again (used the conference in SC to spur me on and wrote a different version of the book I had started so many years ago – it now has a different spin), and now will try and find a US publisher/agent. I have several that are interested, but I will need to write more of the book itself rather than just have the first few chapters.

    Anyway, thanks for your comments, and I wish you luck with your own writing.

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