Quillpen, inky fingers
One writer ponders ...
on words-smithing or being happily distracted from the task in hand
and on the wayward nature of her Muse
and on the wayward nature of her Muse
When the annual Gorsedh Kernow Holyer an Gof Awards for literature were presented on Thursday 11th July I suddenly discovered that I had more than one cause for cheering. Obviously, in the middle of the Royal Cornwall Museum I didn't leap about yelling with glee … but not because I didn't want to. With a dodgy knee, warily teetering in kitten heels - and sporting a bronchial infection that could reduce me to a breathless wheezing wreck in seconds, leaping and shouting were out of the question.
No! Not only had the third book in the Pendennis trilogy, To Untie a Sealed Knot, been nominated in this prestigious listing of publications relating to Cornwall, but TUASK had been awarded a prize!
Exposed to All Villainies had been nominated in 2015, while the sequel, A Cord of Three Strands, received recognition as a nominated work in 2017.
For 2018 the panel of judges for the Holyer an Gof Awards decided that Daniel Edward’s story was so worthy of acknowledgment, they created the new notion of a runner-up in this category remarking that the author ‘had truly mastered the art of show not tell.’
You know it was very strange; I was honoured to have been asked to deliver a short presentation at the ceremony, as To Untie a Sealed Knot was nominated, but I really didn’t expect anything else because the standard of the nominations was so high. Besides which I was busy wondering how many VocalZone pastilles I could stick to the roof of my mouth before they became a speech impediment rather than an anti-cough measure!
When my name was called out I think I may have given out a very unladylike squeak - or maybe a croak - but at least I didn’t have time to get nervous!
Cornwall’s history has always been the inspiration for storytellers and will continue to be for centuries to come, with a strong sense of place, be it myth, moorland, coast or – for me - castles.
If you've explored the website you know that I also love forgotten facts, collect them. You know too that the first novel stemmed from one fact, that, in a largely forgotten siege in 1646, of 1000 Royalists inside Pendennis 200 were women and children. History will probably never record their names, or why they stayed and while historians may deal in facts a novelist can speculate!
Exposed to All Villainies, its narrators three women, was a tribute to the forgotten women. The problem was that, having given the characters a voice, a growing band of avid readers now wanted to know what happened to them. A Cord of Three Strands saw them survive the perils of the civil war only to face the unrest of rebellion two years later – and to confront a villain who, despite this author’s best efforts, managed to get away.
My duty was clear and To Untie a Sealed Knot was penned.
Events unfolding in the third book mean the girls can't tell their own stories, so Daniel Edwards, an individual that readers of Book 1 might just recognise, takes up the narrator’s role.
“Warfare gives men plenty of experiences they could do without. Even earning respect will get a man noticed when it might not be in his best interests. I got noticed, and by one of the highest lawyers in the land no less. He gave me a job to do. At the beginning it all seemed simple enough, even though it was a task tightly proscribed, for correctness’ sake. But matters seldom run smooth and circumstances change. And my motives … well, let me simply say they were … knotty.”
Frank Ruhrmund called this novel a fitting close to a remarkable and powerful trilogy and a ‘rattling good read’. I am thrilled to think that the Holyer an Gof judges agreed!
To Untie a Sealed Knot is dedicated to my Mum and I only wish she'd been there last night. She was there for the book launch on July 15th 2017 but died in the September after a short illness. She'd have been absolutely overjoyed to hear about this prize.
Dan Daddow’s Cornish Comicalities by Alan M Kent, published by Ryelands (Halsgrove) was the winner of section 3, and also won the Holyer an Gof cup.