I've been sitting on this news for almost 2 months; I couldn't 'make it public' until now. Talking about it here was out of the question, which was tough - this blog being about the writing hike - and this news being the biggest writing thing that's happened to me so far.
On September 23rd I got an email from the organisers of the Bridport Prize to tell me that my story, In a seaside cafe, is one of the 13 winning stories this year.
If you're a writer who's been sending work out you'll know what the Bridport Prize means, and the weight it carries, and you'll understand how my face went numb when I read the email, and how because I was on my own in the house I had to get a large vodka right away to celebrate.
And, if you were around at the start of my blogging life (June) you might remember me talking about getting my Bridport entry ready, and how I felt both inspired and intimidated by this year's judge: my favourite writer, Ali Smith.
It is an odd feeling to know that she's read and chosen my story, and even harder to take in that there were 14,500 entries (including poetry) this year.
On Sunday I'll be attending the prize giving in Bridport, where Ali Smith will be, and I have no idea what the day will be like or if I'll meet her, but I'm excited, nervous, anxious, thrilled, and all the rest.
It's weird because I've known about this for so long I thought I'd got used to the idea - but my stomach is doing flips as I write this blog post.
And now I have to dash out to work. I'll be writing here about what happens next and the prize giving - unless I make a faux pas - which I have a habit of doing when in the company of people I admire (as a teenager I told Tim Wheeler from Ash that he was a 'babe'. I won't say that Ali Smith. Must not say that to Ali Smith).