Monday, December 31, 2012
The year that was ... 2012 retrospective
The trying stuff
For the whole year I was undertaking three jobs, including running two research institutes. That was meant to end in September, but the university failed to appoint one position and failed to advertise the other lumbering me with the two additional posts for another academic year. Running one soft money institute in a country enacting full austerity is tough going, doing it for two is definitely not to be recommended.
I also split, on amicable terms, from my agent. I know life would probably be a lot easier with a new agent, but I’m not sure I can face into the effort of securing one at the moment. Perhaps something to work on in 2013.
I had a couple of short stories rejected. I might dust them off and redraft them in the coming year.
The good stuff
I was awarded an European Research Council Advanced Investigator Award for my project, ‘The Programmable City’. Besides letting me get on with some research, the award means I am stepping down from my three present jobs in August 2013. We also landed a large Interreg project and agreed a business plan with the university for another project. Every year is a battle to raise salary for research staff and we managed to scrape by and get most of 2013 sorted for most folk.
I picked up three book awards in 2012 - the Association of American Geographer’s Meridian Prize for best book in the discipline and an American Library Association CHOICE award for Code/Space: Software and Everyday Life, and the Cantemir Prize for The Map Reader.
Whilst I have a healthy scepticism for academic metrics, I’ll admit to getting a little kick when my citations passed 5000 in late autumn.
Writing and editing
On the writing and publishing front, the collection of interlinked short stories, Killer Reels, was published back in May and I signed a contract with Snubnose Press for the publication of my novel, Stiffed. I also had 12 short stories published, some on the blog and others at A Twist of Noir, All Due Respect, Flash Fiction Offensive, Near to the Knuckle, Shotgun Honey, Spinetingler, and The Laughter Shack, and wrote 52 drabbles.
Beyond fiction, the big writing project of the year was the Oxford Dictionary of Human Geography submitted in September for which I wrote over 700 entries. The proofs should arrive the first week in January. I also started writing a new academic book examining the growth and consequences of big data and have been editing a handbook which might see the light of day before the end of 2013. I also submitted a few academic articles to journals and chapters to edited collections, and co-edited 9 issues of two academic journals and kept the two book series I edit moving along.
Reading etc for 2012
I’ll do a more detailed overview of reading in the next few days, but suffice to say that 2012 was a very good year of reading. Despite my new year’s resolution to cut down on the number of books read and to concentrate on writing, instead I read and reviewed 109 books, plus read a hundred plus short stories and academic papers, and thousands of blog posts, newspaper articles, emails, etc. It’s certainly the thing I spend more time doing than anything else, followed most probably by writing.
2012 was also the year that I finally succumbed and bought a Kindle. I am still a firm fan of paper books and buy them when available, but for e-only or difficult to source books, or for quick access, I’ve been using the e-reader.
A particular highlight for 2012 was organising the ‘Crime fiction and Contemporary Ireland’ event in Maynooth at which Declan Burke, Gene Kerrigan and Niamh O’Connor spoke, and other authors such as Louise Phillips attended (and artfully worked the event into her debut novel, Red Ribbons). I also enjoyed co-organising an event on the American election and meeting Phil and Patti Abbott.
Social media and media
2012 was the year I moved beyond blogging with respect to social media. Back in late January I started to use Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads. In particular, I enjoy Twitter and have found loads of interesting things through it, and I’ve been amazed to have been followed by so many folk. In November I started using Scoop.it, which I’m finding to be a handy curation tool. On the blogging front I wrote 339 posts on this blog and 74 on IrelandAfterNAMA. I don’t anticipate doing so many on either next year.
2012 was reasonably busy year for media work. I appeared on television twice, did 18 national radio interviews and two local interviews, and my work was cited 44 times in international newspapers, 65 times in national papers, and 26 times in local papers. Nowhere near on par with 2010, but a lot more manageable. I suspect it will drop off in 2013 now the media are back to trying to find deluded optimists!
I also delivered 17 talks during the year to a variety of audiences.
So that was 2012 in short. It seemed busy at the time, but writing this post has made realise why I’ve spent most of the year knackered. Hopefully 2013 will be a little more sedate, though I doubt it.
Thanks to everyone who has stopped by the blog and left comments, all those that read any of my various musings and stories, and all those who’ve had to suffer working with me or listening to me. Your time and encouragement has been very much appreciated. Onto 2013 ...
All the best wishes for the new year.