The end is in sight for my first work of fiction. So close that, with some trepidation, I have started making a shortlist of possible agents to approach but, despite the current feeling of euphoria inside my snug, self-achievement bubble, I am well aware that the odds of finding one are stacked against me.
Agents and publishers currently crave Dystopian drama. I have waded, uncomfortably, through Margaret Attwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, marvelling at the brilliance of her writing whilst fighting the need to throw up, faced with women being forced into sexual servitude. Powerful stuff.
So realistically, what chance do I have of getting my bittersweet story of life and love into print? To give it a chance to sate the voracious appetites of erudite readers who are ready to take a break from dystopian dramas and escape to real life in a far from perfect world.
Looking at the 2017 Longlist for the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction, eventually won by Naomi Alderman for her dystopian work The Power, described by the doyenne of dystopia herself, Margaret Atwood, as
‘Electrifying! Shocking! Will knock your socks off! Then you’ll think twice, about everything.’
Pretty shocking that Margaret Atwood didn’t even make the 2017 Bailey’s Shortlist of 6. So … surrounded by a library of brilliant works of fiction, I stand more than just a reasonable chance of getting my fingers burned, but my bubble hasn’t burst quite yet. I’m not ready to throw in the towel.
Stay With Me, Ayobami Adebayo
The Power, Naomi Alderman
Hag-Seed, Margaret Atwood
Little Deaths Emma Flint
The Mare Mary Gaitskill
The Dark Circle Linda Grant
The Lesser Bohemians Eimear McBride
Midwinter Fiona Melrose
The Sport of Kings C.E. Morgan
The Woman Next Door Yewande Omotoso
The Lonely Hearts Hotel Heather O’Neill
The Essex Serpent Sarah Perry
Barkskins Annie Proulx
First Love Gwendoline Riley
Do Not Say We Have Nothing Madeleine Thien
The Gustav Sonata Rose Tremain