Last year I wrote a short story. It was called 'The Haunting of Bodmin Jail', it was about a fake medium and some real ghosts, and it was chosen to be part of the book Cornish Short Stories: A Collection of Contemporary Cornish Writing. This year, Cornish Short Stories was published by The History Press, and because of that short story I wrote last year I got to do some really cool stuff.
In May we launched the book at the Falmouth Bookseller. I got to celebrate my first piece of creative writing in print with my parents and my closest friends, and I got to meet my fellow writers for the first time! The bookshop was packed with people and they sold every copy they had. I wore shoes with a little ghost on them, that were too big for my feet, and afterwards my parents took me and my friends for dinner at Whetherspoons because even when professional writer stuff is happening, you have to keep it real, you know?
The book was featured in the May edition of Cornwall Today, with a lovely write up by one of our editors.
And it was featured in the window of Waterstones in Truro! My mum made me pose for a picture next to it but you'll have to check out the Cornish Shorts highlight on my Instagram page if you really want to see that. It was just a little bit embarrassing. Actually, last time I checked there were still copies in the window, so if you're in Truro feel free to have a look and don't tell me if they've moved them because I'll be heartbroken. Thanks.
In June I did my first ever public reading from 'The Haunting of Bodmin Jail' at The Great Estate Festival. We didn't, strictly speaking, have much of an audience but I think that just means I'm a real published writer now, right? Reading in front of less than ten people, half of whom are also reading from the same book, is a rite of passage for a writer, and honestly, I love a good story, and this was a fun one to tell my friends afterwards.
In July, not only did I get to attend The Port Eliot Festival, a festival I have wanted to attend for years, but I got to be part of it. I got to walk around all weekend with the word 'artist' wrapped around my wrist. I got my name in the program on the same page as Billy Bragg. I got to read an extract of my story in front of a real audience, who laughed at my jokes and asked engaged questions about my writing, and then I got to spend the whole weekend watching other legit writers do that and remembering that, oh yeah, technically I was one of them! It was pretty cool.
To top off all these cool things, we've had reviews! Two of them so far, but they're both particularly special to me because they both mention my little story specifically! From Literature Works:
Anastasia Gammon's 'The Haunting of Bodmin Jail' provides a darkly comic and witty portrait of one of 'the most haunted places in Britain' and demonstrates a canny awareness of craft from a refreshing new voice.
And from Created to Read:
My favourite story in the collection was 'The Haunting of Bodmin Jail' by Anastasia Gammon - a ghost story with a hilarious twist, as a real ghost appears on a ghost tour, and Jane (the protagonist) must persuade a whole host of ghosts to go back and leave her in peace. I won't forget that one in a hurry!This little story has brought me so much joy this year and I am so grateful to our two editors, Emma and Felicity, who chose to include my story, and to everyone else involved in the book for making it a reality. It's been a blast.
Cornish Short Stories is available to buy from all book retailers, online and in store, and it's on Good Reads, so, you know, feel free to leave a review if you want... I promise I won't even mind if you don't mention my story specifically.