Here we are at the end of another year. But not any old year. For me, 2011 was exceptional. In March, I landed the major book deal I had dreamt about since I was 9 year years old. In May, I was awarded the doctorate I had worked solidly towards for four years and wanted since my early twenties. Three weeks ago I was announced joint winner of the Calvin and Rose G Hoffmann Prize for a distinguished work on Christopher Marlowe. And to round the year off nicely, I received the bound proof of The Marlowe Papers just before Christmas. Full of typesetter’s errors it may be, but it is still utterly beautiful. 2012 looks very promising indeed.
Anyone who has known me (or of me) for a while will appreciate that something very different is happening. Up to this point I was the author of three collections of poetry, selling only a few hundred copies each; a University of Sussex tutor in creative writing for 12 years for the now (sadly defunct) CCE and, despite some prizes and readings now and again, very much a minor figure on the British literary scene. But in 2012 my verse novel is being launched by Sceptre (the literary arm of Hodder and Stoughton) in the UK and St Martin’s Press (part of Macmillan) in the US. On the back of Sceptre’s proof copy it says, ‘Discover the literary debut of the year’. So what happened?