Out of the blue yesterday I got an email telling me I was one of four writers this year being awarded the Alice B. Reader’s Appreciation Medal. It’s an honour given annually to writers of lesbian fiction deserving of recognition based on their body of work. Previous winners include giants of the field such as Joanna Russ, Jane Rule, Alison Bechdel, and Katherine V. Forrest. It also comes with a juicy cheque.

I’ve been given all kinds of statues and plaques, certificates and cheques, even a lovely ceramic plate (now displayed at the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame), but this is my very first medal. I’m delighted.

Here’s part of the email I got:

We readers have enjoyed all of your books and found your treatment of the death of and mourning for a beloved partner in The Blue Place and Stay particularly touching; almost too painful to read.. Your ability to capture emotions is unsurpassed. Your treatment of the uncertainties of MS, too, is noteworthy, and we thank you for your thoughtful treatment of death and illness. The mark of a great writer is that their work teaches, as well as entertains: you have mastered both of these facets of the art. We are proud to add you to our list of favorite writers. Thank you.

So there you have it. I’m officially awesome. (Picture me feeling smug and visualising myself as Sir Nicola with rows of medals pinned across my chest, sword at my side, noble steed waiting for me to leap on and lead the charge to save the world. Why, yes, I have just had four cups of tea in under an hour, how can you tell?)