When I won The Bridport Novel Prize in 2018, it was the first time I’d ever won anything, let alone a literary prize.
First real step to publication
Five years on, I see how winning was the first real step towards publication. I had been wrestling with an uncompleted draft of my first novel The Messenger for over a year. Without the boost of winning and the fabulous mentorship I received from Anna South at The Literary Consultancy, I doubt I would have finished a first draft.
Calls from agents
As soon as I was long listed for The Bridport Prize I received calls from agents asking to see my manuscript. It meant I didn’t have to go through the process of submitting to agents myself – a process that is often incredibly difficult for writers early on in their career and one that is fraught with rejection. Without that critical early support The Messenger might still be unpublished.
Almost didn’t enter
In fact, I almost didn’t enter the competition. I’d always intended to enter and had been finessing my submission for several weeks, but on the afternoon of the deadline, my computer crashed. I lost everything I’d written except what I’d emailed to members of my workshop group over the previous months.
One hour to deadline
With barely an hour to go until the deadline, I managed to re-do my 5,000 word submission from those emails, cobble together a synopsis and send it on time. In retrospect and although it was very stressful, the pressure to produce a draft in that short time frame undoubtedly improved my submission!
Grateful and a game changer
I still remember where I was when I got news I’d been long listed. I thought it was a hoax, as did my husband when a few months later I told him I’d won!
I’m so incredibly grateful to The Bridport Prize for their amazing support for The Messenger and the support they give to all other unpublished writers. It really is a game changer!
The Messenger is published by Bonnier Books UK. It’s a thriller set in Paris and follows a falsely accused son’s quest to solve his father’s murder and clear his own name.
Megan is also a lawyer and is currently an associate at Spotlight on Corruption, working in the area of white-collar crime.