To Southport on Friday evening for the launch of Cary Bray's Scott-Prize-winning story collection Sweet Home. It was dreadful weather - sheets of water on the motorway, and when we got there waterfalls coming off the elegant glass arcade-type roofs that cover the pavements in Southport's centre - which last I'd never expected, never having set foot in Southport before. But Broadhurst's Bookshop was a wonderful haven, with a real and homely coal fire, and when we got there, on time, a crowd had already gathered, undaunted by the weather, and Carys was already signing copy after copy of her exciting-looking book. And there were cakes (!) which Carys had made herself, themed with the book, and very much in keeping with the great story she read us, a twist on the Hansel and Gretel tale with its gingerbread house, beautifully told with an original flair for language. If that story is anything to go by, there's an edge to Carys's writing which is anything but homely and sickly-sweet!
It was a lovely evening, and congratulations to Carys, for winning the prize and on her publication.