JUNE 2021: PAPERBACK OF FRAGMENTS AND ANNA VAUGHT’S WRITING RETREAT
The paperback of The Fragments of my Father was published on 29 April. I met up with a friend for lunch that day. It was the first time we’d seen each other in months and the first time I’d eaten out in a long time. We got a restaurant table outdoors, chatting and shivering, until we could bear the cold no longer; then we wandered in Foyles in Charing Cross to see if I could find any copies. I discovered it on the ground floor, on a table display. Seeing your book in a bookshop is a high for any writer; seeing it on a display is euphoria. Since then, I’ve visited various London bookshops and signed copies. I’m so grateful to booksellers for their support. A few have commented on how much they like the cover, which is a photo of me aged 3 with my Dad – who also loves the cover (but admits he is a bit biased…)
At the end of 2020, Fragments was chosen as a book of the year in The New Statesman (Marina Benajmin) and The White Review (Joanna Kavenna). I was also thrilled when Fragments was shortlisted for the Barbellion Prize, which is awarded to a book which best presents ‘a life with a long-term chronic illness or disability’. This year’s winner was Golem Girl by Riva Lehrer.
I’ve had a few more reviews recently, including The Times Literary Supplement, where it was reviewed by Josephine Balfour Oatts, who praised the book – ‘Mills writes with acute emotional intelligence’.
Upcoming: very little is upcoming, since we’re all staying safe with the pandemic. Joanna Walsh and I are hoping to give a talk sometime soon at a bookshop near you, but that will depend on rules and safety and when the time is appropriate. In the meantime, I am involved in a One Day Writing Retreat with the brilliant Anna Vaught. She is the author of a number of books, including Saving Lucia (Bluemoose Books, 2020), one of my favourite novels of last year. She has set up a writing retreat online for Saturday 17th July, which will involve a day of teaching, chat and discussion, from 10 – 4.30, including advice from Anna on numerous topics including openings, plot, characterisation, editing, narrative pace and confidence. You can see the programme in full on Anna’s website here. I’m joining as a special guest in the afternoon, along with Heidi James and Michael Langan, for a half an hour slot where I will be discussing commercial v literary fiction. Heidi will be talking about risk and developing the confidence to write against the grain in your work; Michael will be discussing the rewriting/redrafting process. There will also be a Q&A at the end with agent Jonathan Ruppin. All in all, this is a feast of knowledge for writers and you can book onto the course via Eventbrite here