New Writers Awards 2012/13: Catherine Simpson
Catherine Simpson was born and raised on a dairy farm in Lancashire. She moved to Scotland over twenty years ago and now lives in Penicuik with her husband Marcello and two teenage daughters, Nina and Lara.
She is a freelance journalist and has had articles published in many magazines and newspapers. She has written fiction secretly for years but began to share it four years ago when she started a diploma in Creative Writing with the Open University. Recently she graduated from Edinburgh Napier University with an MA with Distinction in Creative Writing.
Her fiction has been published in various anthologies and publications including Scottish Family Legends published by Luath Press and Gutter Magazine. She has performed her work on BBC Radio Scotland, at the Westport Book Festival, the Scottish National Gallery and the Edinburgh International Book Festival.
Her first novel Chicken Dust was shortlisted for the Mslexia Women’s Novel Competition 2011. Her short story ‘Cowpunk’ is currently shortlisted for the Asham Award.
She is now completing her second novel Truestory and is developing a creative non-fiction project on one of her favourite subjects: death.
Extract from Truestory:
His mum was going into LANCASTER. He knew that because she went into LANCASTER every Tuesday afternoon, even though he had told her every Tuesday morning for 7 years, 7 months and 3 weeks that he did not want her to go.
‘I can’t be here all the time,’ she said, although Sam didn’t know why; he was here all the time.
‘I’ve got to get away sometimes.’
The last time he’d asked his mum not to go into LANCASTER she’d flung down her carrier bags and yelled: ‘For God’s sake! You’ll kill me, you will. You’re going to drive me into The Royal Bloody Albert,’ and then she’d started to cry.
Sam had Googled the Royal Bloody Albert and discovered that it was in fact The Royal Albert Hospital, which provided high-quality psychiatric care for adults; including an acute admissions ward in a historic Grade Two listed building set within beautifully maintained gardens.
An hour later his mum said she was very sorry and tried to put her arm around him but Sam shrank away and she started to cry all over again.
After that Sam never asked his mum not to go into town again.
Instead, on a Tuesday afternoon, he went up to his bedroom and shut the door – he would have locked it if he’d been allowed a lock - and he drew a map, or went on a chat room, or wrote his diary. And all the time, he listened out for his mum’s car driving away and eventually, after a long, long time, coming back, and he hoped very, very hard all the time she was away that she was not being driven into the Royal Bloody Albert.
'When Claire from Scottish Book Trust phoned to tell me I’d won a New Writers Award I felt like Cinderella after her fairy godmother turned up. It’s wonderful to know I’ll be supported for the next year and that the writing life will be a less lonely place. Thanks to SBT for inviting me to the ball.'