Nice work if you can get it.

Now this is what I want to do when I grow up!

I am always cross this time of year because I can’t get to the Hay Festival, although I did spend a happy few days there one summer checking out the innumerable book shops. I make do with the Edinburgh Festival in August. If I hadn’t been a teacher I would have worked in publishing I think.

I may even have risen to such dizzy heights that I could attend literary events on work days. And here’s the ultimate: a contest that celebrates the literary love story where all involved spend a week in a luxury hotel in Mauritius. ‘Snorkels, Suntans and a spot of light judging’ as The Observer describes it.

‘The dilemma of how to fill the tense days before the ceremony was perhaps softened by the number of options on offer: whether to paddle in the Indian Ocean or go for a dip in the hotel’s vast infinity pool? Snorkeling or windsurfing? For dinner, the restaurant at the edge of the lagoon or that floats amid a fish reserve which boasts, apparently, its own two-metre shark?

Not that it was all hedonism: the judges and writers spent much of the week visiting local schools. The Hotel also ran a short story competition for schoolchildren.’


The winner, by the way, was Julia Gregson with her book, ‘East of the Sun’.