I was sitting in the olive grove that makes up the garden of my little Florentine house, new ipad in hand – it was my birthday yesterday – when the familiar tone that heralds the arrival of an email distracted me. You’ve won the International Rubery Award, said the email. It must be spam I thought, as the mail was sent by paypal and required me clicking on various suspicious links. So I ignored it. But what if I have won, I thought, whilst watering my cloudy looking Ortensias, so I checked the International Rubery Award web site and discovered that paypal was not joking. First PrizeThe Restorer by Daniela Murphy. What a lovely birthday present. A special thanks to all the judges and all of you who have encouraged me throughout. Thank you all so very, very much. I am posting a photo of me whilst reading the great news.
“Scared? Me…….”I said faking disbelief to my colleague as I fastened my harness and tucked my hair under my helmet. “It takes more than that thing,” I added nodding over at what looked like a huge metallic spider “to scare a Murphy,” – or maybe I should say, a Murfi, which is the way the Florentines call me.
The whole idea of standing on a wobbling metal cradle, powered by an arachnid crane and taken 100 meters above piazza della Signoria sounded like an exciting enterprise for a wet Monday morning. Our mission was to inspect the state of conservation of the facade of Palazzo Vecchio; a mission which I took with certain nonchalance. Little did I know that nonchalance would soon become a terrifying and totally irrational fear for my life. It’s hard to negotiate with Mr Panic-get-me-out-of-here-now! before-I-call-the-fire-brigade, especially when you have agreed to spend six hours hovering before Palazzo Vecchio, scalpel and syringes in hand.
As the cradle began to levitate and my nonchalance began to plummet, I did what most people try to do when confronted with irrational fears, I began fiddling with things. I checked my harness, I moved the carabiner, I fumbled with my helmet and in the process I accidently paused the action cam, which is why the posted video comes to a sudden stop. Sorry for that.
All this to say that whilst I was reaching the heavens of Piazza della Signoria, my publisher Jason Beacon phoned with news. The Restorer has gone from pulp to pixel. You can now download it directly into your Kindle device for €3,88 at Amazon.com. For those of you who don’t have a kindle, you can download a virtual one onto your computer or mobile devices by clicking here.
A big thanks to all of you who have posted your thoughts in this blog and have and continue to encourage me through the vertiginous world of publishing.
PS – The Florentine has just published an article on The Restorer. If you want to read it click here. The article was written by Oonagh Stransky with whom I had great fun. Thanks Oonagh.
The only prize I’ve ever won in my life was granted by a few of my Florentine colleagues after having endured three days working in this position. The prize was a cordial pat on the shoulder, a rather subdued brava and a cold beer in Piazza Santa Croce. Last week Guerilla Books submitted The Restorer to three literary competitions. The idea didn’t come directly from the publisher, who later admitted was toying with it, but from the same Florentine colleagues who had prized my contortionist efforts. They actually did a little research to find out which awarding body most suited The Restorer. I was touched. As wall painter conservator S.C said – in what was meant to be an encouraging remark – “Worst-case scenario? You’ll get a pat on the shoulder, a brava from me and a cold beer in Piazza Santa Croce for the effort.” I guess it’s a win, win scenario. We’ll keep our fingers crossed and see what happens.
These are the three: The Eric Hoffer Award Eric Hoffer Award – Home Page The International Rubery Book Award Enter the Book Awards – The International Rubery Book Award 2010 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing 2012 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing.
A heartfelt thanks to all of you who came to the London book launch. What a splendid evening and what a treat it was to see all the Woldingham girls again. Sussex House School ball room was the perfect site for The Restorer. A special thanks goes to the school’s headmaster for having hosted the launch and to Jason for organizing a perfect evening. If any of the guests would like to post a few photographs of the evening, please feel free to do so.
I’d also like to thank all of those who came to the Florentine book launch at the historical bar and restaurant Donnini’s in Piazza della Republica. A special thank you goes to my friends who watered the cactus and to my Florentine colleagues who bought The Restorer as an act of solidarity even if they don’t speak English – un bacio a voi.