I always knew this client was brighter than me

Winner of the 2011 Scott Prize for Short Stories

Cassandra Parkin, Writer

A couple of posts ago, I asked what made a great client. I cited Cassandra Parkin as one.
She was a client of mine in the early 2000s at Reckitt Benckiser, and was a much more reliable source of great ideas than was I.
Have a look, please, at the email traffic between us over the past couple of days. The Scott Prize has just been won by Cassandra at her first attempt. The photo to the left was taken outside 42 The Calls in Leeds on 13 April 2011. You might just be able to detect a certain tension in her face. As things turned out, she needn’t have worried.
Here’s the email trail in reverse order:

From: Cassandra

Subject: OMG I WON I WON I WON I WON I WON!!!!!!!!!!
Date: Mon, 9 May 2011 15:05:29 +0100

I won the Scott Prize!


I need to go and sob into a pillow for half an hour before I pick the kids up. But before I do that I need the say THANK YOU to all of you …because you all inspired me and supported me and pushed me to keep going and told me I could do it. So, thank you.

Email from me to Cassandra:

Bugger my old boots! Many congratulations! I am immensely delighted for you. Well done! Does this involve lots of prize money, First Class trips to Cannes, and unlimited supplies of chocolate? If not, there’s no justice in this world.

Just one other thing. I hope you don’t mind me raising this, but I am a bit out of pocket, what with fixing the judges and having a couple of  the more mouthy other writers have weird and terminal accidents at the keyboard. This didn’t cost that much, but, if you have a spare couple of fivers, that would ease the pain a bit.

Email from Cassandra to me:

Thank you. You’ll be pleased to know that I got absolutely blitzed with Tony on champagne last night, and have no real recollection of anything that happened after about 10pm.

I’m not sure how much chocolate and international travel is involved, but I’m more than happy with the publishing contract.

The prize is for a debut collection of short stories, and it’s open to residents of the UK, Ireland, USA, NZ and Australia. They had about sixty entries I think, then shortlisted ten, then finally picked three winners.

Quite a lot of other shortlistees had published quite a lot before, which was pretty intimidating. I googled a few of them, and it scared the hell out of me.

My entry’s called “New World Fairy Tales”, and it’s a retelling of seven of the most famous stories from the Grimm Kinder und Hausmarchen, set in contemporary America.  The stories are told as a series of interviews conducted with strangers by an un-named  college student. I wrote them as Christmas and birthday presents for seven very dear friends, based on their favourite fairy-tales from childhood. You were an incredibly helpful source for my version of Cinderella.

As for how I won, I have no idea. I still can’t quite believe it, and have to keep going back to the website to check it’s not some sort of strange delusion.



Me, to you, gentle reader: Great, eh? I’ll let you know when the book is published.