Hysteria Writing Competition Judges – Tracy Fells

Each year we interview our volunteer judges for the Hysteria Writing Competition and I’d like to introduce Tracy Fells. Tracy was also the winner of last year’s short story competition and you can read her winning entry here: Fibonacci’s Tree.

Tell me one thing no-one knows about you.

When sending short stories in the mail I use a paperclip to hold the pages together. For good luck I always choose the most appropriately coloured paperclip from my little tub – ‘appropriate’ in that the colour somehow matches or compliments the story. When I was younger I would think of particular colours when hearing someone’s name (a sort of synesthesia I guess), and now I just KNOW what colour each story is.

Now you wish you’d never asked, don’t you?

What do you enjoy reading the most and why?

Easier to say what I don’t enjoy reading and that’s very little! I do enjoy contemporary literary fiction such as David Mitchell, Kate Atkinson, but also love historical fiction such as Hilary Mantell, David Mitchell (again) and Helen Dunmore. And I love character driven fiction such as anything by Kate Long. My secret pleasure is reading Bernard Cornwell who is one of the greatest living storytellers.

Recently I seem to have rediscovered my poetry muse and am enjoying anthologies such as Staying Alive/Being Alive/Being Human (Bloodaxe).

Also reading collections by Wendy Cope, Helen Dunmore and Sharon Olds.

If there was one book or piece of writing you wish you had written what would it be?

Anything by David Mitchell, but in particular ‘The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet’, which is sublime. Also same comment applies to anything by Rose Tremain.

What prompted you to volunteer to be a judge in the Hysteria Writing Competition?

I was lucky enough to win the competition last year with a short story called ‘Fibonacci’s Tree‘ and therefore wasn’t planning on entering for 2014. But then found out I could still support the competition and the organisation’s work by helping out as a judge. I volunteered and didn’t really expect to be chosen, so the positive response was a lovely surprise. I am now really looking forward to reading all the entries and this year the competition is going to be even more exciting with three categories to review.

If there was a film of your life who would play you and why?

What a question to ask a shy, retiring writer! I’ve always secretly thought that Drew Barrymore in ‘The Wedding Singer’ looked a bit like me (well, when I was 30 years younger) so I’d have to pick Drew for my younger self. Possibly, darling Kete Winslett for me in later years …

Where can we find out more about you?

I share a writing blog with The Literary Pig at tracyfells.blogspot.com. I’m also on Facebook and Twitter (@theliterarypig). If you want to read my short fiction then here are some links to published stories and anthologies:

A full list of published works can be found here: http://tracyfells.blogspot.co.uk/p/blog-page.html

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