Highlights of 2022 – looking back in gratitude

In 2022, I was able to concentrate on polishing up two historical novels set in East Africa that I’ve been writing.

After one was short-listed by The Virginia Prize for Fiction, I entered it into a number of writing competitions being shortlisted by Fiction Factory, the Flash Fiction’s Novel Opening competition and winning 3rd prize in I AM in Print’s Romance Writing Competition judged by the Kate Nash Literary Agency for its commercial potential, which was flattering as romance is only an element in the story.

3rd Prize Winner in I AM Writing Romance

An earlier draft had been awarded third prize in Association of Christian Writers’ novel writing competition. On 30th December it won the Eyelands International Book Awards for an unpublished historical novel. I’m thrilled.

This year my World War II novel, set in Burma and Japan, which has won three novel writing awards, received two accolades with Roadmap in the USA, was long-listed by the Exeter Prize, Retreat West and the Cinnamon Literature Award having been placed the finals of the Page Turner Awards and the American Christian Fiction Writers contest for an historical novel. It was shortlisted by C&R Press Awards for Fiction in the USA.

We’ll see what happens next. Over the last year, the original film of Swallows and Amazons was broadcast a number of times in the UK and Australia.

Talking Pictures TV

I had a story about making the movie featured in the Times Diary, which attracted a bit of attention.

In the Times Diary

This was great as I’ve been bringing out a new range of mugs and useful items using one of the book covers I designed. I used the maps within to produce gifts.

Wearing my book cover

What I did not expect was to win a gold medal for taking part in a literacy charity Race for Reading as I collected marine plastic whilst walking 90 miles along the coast.

Thanks to my kind sponsors I raised a total of £2,180 for SchoolReaders who bring the joy of reading to so many.

I ran a workshop on ‘Photographing Your Books’ at the Association of Christian Writers literary weekend held at the Hayes Conference Centre when we heard from a number of brilliant speakers including Paul Karenza, Tony Collins and the author Anne Booth.

Funnily Enough – 2nd edition with black and white illustrations

It was so popular that the editor of Christian Writer commissioned an article capturing the essence of my talk.

Christian Writer magazine

I originally ran this workshop as online as a fringe festival activity for Anita Faulkner’s writers group Chick Lit and Prosecco. I went to her first colourful country book launch at Waterstones in Gloucester this July.

Sophie Neville off to a book signing at Waterstones

I wore the same hat during the archery season when I won a prize for Most Hits in Meriden and both the Ladies’ Arrow and Best Ladies Gold at the West Berks Archery Society.

My arrows in Ukrainian colours

Over the summer of 2022 I was interviewed on Your Take, by Jadzia Smeaton and Authors’ Reach. Barbara Altouyan who interviewed me on Family Talk spoke on the Today Programme and David Butters had a review of ‘The Making of Swallows and Amazons’ published in the popular magazine Practical Boat Owner.

A 4-page feature article in Practical Boat Owner magazine

After writing articles for Mixed Moss and Practical Boat Owner myself, I gave talks about The Making of Swallows and Amazons on the Foredeck Stage at Southampton International Boat Show 2022.

Inspirational speaker, Sophie Neville
Southampton International Boat Show 2022

The publicity offered was amazing. 110,000 people came, passing Swallow, our dinghy used in the 1974 film Swallows and Amazons as they entered the show.

Meanwhile I recorded both the audiobook of The Making of Swallows and Amazons and my autobiography Funnily Enough at Monkeynut Studios.

Both books are now edited and are becoming available from all the audiobook retailers including Spotify.

Ruth Leigh featured a review of Funnily Enough on her amusing blog here. You can find more reviews on Goodreads. David Butters can be seen here checking the 2nd edition of Funnily Enough now available from Amazon.

David Butters reading 'Funnily Enough'
David Butters from Lancashire

I wrote about Queen Elizabeth II’s love of Swallows and Amazons and provided a Foreword for Boats Yet Sailing by Trevor Boult

After losing my voice, I continued marketing what is possibly my most amusing book, Ride the Wings of Morning.

Very grateful for online reviews posted by readers

It was a great privilege to be the keynote speaker at Book Blest, the Stroud Christian Book Festival.

Later in November I helped raise funds for BBC Children in Need, looked after the Duchess of York at Romantic Novelists Association Awards Evening in London and read a Christmas story for UBC Radio Ireland.

Sophie Neville, Sarah Fergusson Duchess of York and Emma Grundy Haig from Joffe Books
Sophie Neville and Sarah Fergusson with Emma Grundy from Joffe Book

Many thanks to my readers and reviewers for their support over the last year. I hope that you have time to read and rest before the 2023 is upon us. I’ll be giving a talks celebrating 50th Anniversary of filming Swallows and Amazons (1974) at the Royal Thames Yacht Club in London, at Windermere Jetty Museum for Lakeland Arts in Cumbria and will speak on adapting novels for film and television at the British Christian Writers’ Conference at Ridley Hall Cambridge. Hopefully, I’ll be taking part in ‘A Believers Guide to Marriage’, a BBC documentary  made by Milk and Honey Productions about how faith can guide people through life events. 

Mail on Sunday - A homage to Swallows, Amazons and a girl with a rather rude name!

Author: Sophie Neville

Writer and charity fundraiser

5 thoughts on “Highlights of 2022 – looking back in gratitude”

  1. It looks like it’s been an extremely fun but busy and productive year. Here’s to 2023 being even more exciting and successful, Sophie.

    1. Thank you for leaving a comment. I was actually ill in bed for three months when I could do very little and missed out on my main archery tournament, but I was able to enter a few book awards.

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