Tara Guha won the Luke Bitmead Bursary in 2014 and her first novel was published on 1st September 2015. Tara talks to me about how she feels about being a writer...
Two years ago I didn’t describe myself as a writer. Mother, of course. Charity project worker, self-evidently. But writer – one who writes (and had in fact written an entire novel) – not a chance. For years I’d been saying apologetically “I’m writing a novel” but never felt able to use the term writer, fearing questions about publication and generally being “found out.”
Then one night in late November 2014 everything changed. From 8pm to 8.01pm I went from being one who writes to a Writer. Of course, nothing had changed in terms of my abilities or passions, but suddenly the world and I accepted me as the thing that I had in fact been since the age of five. That crucial minute saw me named as the winner of the Luke Bitmead Bursary 2014, an award for unpublished novelists with a publishing deal as first prize. It was the most mind-boggling experience of my life.
I’d spotted the ad for the Bursary back in May. Luke Bitmead was a talented young writer, Legend Press’s first signed author, who tragically took his own life in 2006. His inspirational mother Elaine launched the award with Legend Press to help struggling writers to get a foot in the publishing door – one that is so often closed politely in your face. I was delighted to be short-listed but my expectations of winning were truthfully non-existent. I went along to the Bursary night to enjoying the experience of a night in London, a new dress and the chance to meet fellow “writers.”by