30th November 2006
Hosted by the London Review Bookshop
London, United Kingdom
The attendees enjoy a glass of wine while discussing the awards ceremony
Monisha Saldanha gave the following introduction at the awards ceremony:
A warm welcome to all of your gathered here tonight. Those who read, those who write, and especially, those who both read and write. I hope that by the end of the evening, those of you who have never tried to write a short story, will try, and those of you who do write, will write even more prolifically. Tonight is a celebration of those who have had the courage to put pen to paper (or hand to keyboard) and share the results with the world. I hope that every one of us will leave feeling inspired. We are part of a community of readers and writers, and events like tonight's are rare opportunities to meet face to face. We should treasure the memory of nights like tonight. Welcome to the Momaya Press Awards Ceremony of 2006.
The idea for the Momaya Press was born in January 2004, when I started an evening creative writing course at the Mary Ward Centre, nearby in Holburn. Many of the writers I met had been struggling, some of them for many years, to find outlets to get their short stories published. The novel, particularly in the UK, is the preferred format for many publishers. But a novel, unlike a short story, cannot be easily written at weekends or evenings. Most individuals do not have the financial backing or bravado to take time off from working full-time to devote themselves to novel-writing. It occurred to me that an important service could be rendered, both to authors and readers, by devising a format to encourage writers to experiment with the short story, by providing a dedicated forum for them to be heard.
I started Momaya Press in partnership with Maya Cointreau, a professional website and print designer, and a writer as well. I took the role of finance and marketing communications, while Maya concentrated on designing the website and our publication, the Momaya Annual Review. Maya unfortunately cannot be with us here today, but for a very good reason - she gave birth to her first child earlier this year and is home with her husband Dennis and son Lucas in Connecticut.
Maya and I consider this, our third, year to be very successful, having secured widespread interest and participation in our project. We'd like to take the time tonight to thank some of the many people who contributed to Momaya Press in the past year.
First, we'd like to thank our three judges, who took the time out of their busy schedules to participate on the panel that choose tonight's winners. First, Lucy Alexander, who writes on a variety of topics at The Times Magazine.
Second, Rosalind Porter, an editor at Random House and writer for the Spectator, the Times Literary Supplement, the Financial Times Magazine and Time Out. She is also co-editing a collection of new fiction to be published by Chatto & Windus in 2007.
Third, Claire Noizeres works as a literary agent at Andrew Nurnberg Associates where she sells translation rights of US and UK authors to France and finds new young European authors for international representation.
Our thanks to the London Review Bookshop, which has very kindly served as the host of this event, featuring it in the London Review of Books and stocking the Momaya Annual Review for sale. Momaya Press also thanks the actors and actresses of the American Repertory Theatre of London, who will be giving dramatic readings of a selection of our published writing tonight. Last, but not least, we thank the writers who submitted 189 stories (an increase of 7% on the number of submissions we received in 2005). Authors submitted stories from seventeen countries around the world (an increase of one country from 2005): Australia, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, China, France, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, New Zealand, Nigeria, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States. Women accounted for 60% of the entries, and many writers chose to submit multiple stories.
The Momaya Annual Review 2006 contains some of the finest writing of the year, complimented by poems and photography. I would like to thank the writers, artists, judges, and others who have supported this project, and I would encourage everyone here to support the short story as an art form, both as readers and writers.
Now I would like to turn the floor over to the writers - after all, the Momaya Press Awards Ceremony is all about celebrating their words, not mine. It's my pleasure to introduce Alexandra Hackleton, the winner of our inaugural competition in 2004.
Words from our writers
Performance of selected pieces
Congratulations to the authors published in the Momaya Annual Review 2006
To Be Published under Escape