Category Archives: Awards

The Year of Taking a Deep Breath …

… and writing a great many things …

… is here. It’s here.

What is she talking about? you mutter.

Upon which I refer you to my earlier post, The Year of Doing Way Too Much and Nowhere Near Enough.

And then I say this:

In 1999, in an airport departure lounge, I scribbled the beginnings of what would eventually become my first poem.

In 2001, I said out loud to someone for the very first time that I was interested in maybe writing something one day. I remember this very clearly for reasons I will save for a future blog post.

In later 2001, I had an idea for a picture book, and thought it was excellent and bound to be published.

From 2001-2006, I collected approximately 762 rejection letters for that picture book, other picture books, chapter books, Young Adult novels, and novels of indeterminate genre and readership. I also published a few poems.

In 2007, my first novel, Annabel, Again, was published.

In later 2007, my poetry collection, Cleanskin, was published.

                     2782WALK_AnnabelFULL02.indd    Cleanskinhires

From 2008-2015, I published a further 11 books for children and a far-too-small handful of poems.

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The Year of Doing Way Too Much & Nowhere Near Enough

So it’s come to this, November. Or perhaps I should call you by your real name — almost-December-dear-god-where-has-the-year-gone?

2016 has been a year of many things. But mostly of two things, which are subtly connected. For me it will go down as i) The Year of Doing Way Too Much and ii) The Year of Not Writing the Novel I Should Have Written Long Ago (subtitle dear-god-where-has-the-year gone-is-that-my-editor-coming-quick-everybody-hide!).

In 2016, I encountered a perfect and unrelenting storm of day job and volunteer work and family stuff and RSI and book-related commitments and assorted essential but fundamentally not-writing administrivia, all of which combined to leave me with an amount of head-space/writing time which can be best characterised as nowhere near enough.

Herewith a Twitter-ish chronicle of my descent into chaos…

tweets2

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The (Not-So) Accidental Aurealis

Last week two things happened:

i) This shiny trophy arrived in the post! A Single Stone won the Best Children’s Fiction category of the 2015 Aurealis Awards. This was a mighty fine thing and I’m very grateful to everyone involved.

Aurealis ASingleStone_HiRes

Podcast

ii) I was featured in The Australian Writers Centre’s “So You Want to be a Writer” podcast series, which was also a mighty fine thing and a lot of fun to do.

These two things are directly connected. It was the exposure generated by the award that put me on the AWC’s radar as a potential interviewee.

But they’re indirectly connected, too. During the interview, I became aware of a pattern in my responses. When the interviewer, Allison Tait, asked me how I became a children’s writer, I replied that it was sort of accidental. When she asked how it was that I started writing poetry, I replied that it was sort of accidental. We ended up joking about this; we even came up with a potentially excellent future book title: The Accidental Everything. 

(Which I immediately claimed, so back right off, writers!)

And then I started thinking about the Aurealis Award, and how I’d said in my acceptance speech that I hadn’t set out to write speculative fiction, that it had just sort of happened.

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Ten Years and Counting …

To quote one of the great philosophers of our time, Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

Ten years ago, I was feeling a bit discouraged. I’d been submitting work to publishers for a few years and had amassed a thick folder of rejection letters. There were a few personal notes in there, too — a few “Not for us but keep writing!”-type comments, a few “Revise and resubmit?” requests.

I felt like I was close, but also that I could stay close for the term of my natural life, that there was no guarantee a door would open for me, ever. I had begun wondering how much longer I could justify putting time into this writing thing for nil return. I was working long hours in academia; I had a young child. I was stealing time from all over the place in order to indulge this … whatever this was.

I knew I’d never stop writing, never stop jotting down small fragments here and there. But maybe I should stop trying to shape them into stories; maybe I should stick with poetry, which was where I’d started, after all.

Two months later, I signed a contract with Walker Books Australia to publish my first novel, Annabel, Again.

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So That Just Happened … and also that

It’s been a busy few days. It began on Friday morning when I sat bolt upright at 3am and realised the year was drawing to a close and my annual carbon footprint was altogether too small.

Happily, this was easily remedied. I rolled out of bed and drove immediately to Perth airport. I flew across the country and all the way up to Brisbane. Then I drove to a hotel, stayed overnight, and at the crack of dawn, flew home to Perth again. And just like that, I was back on track.

While I was in Brisbane, a ridiculous thing happened, and it looked a bit like this:

QLA2    20151013_091353

A Single Stone was announced as the winner of the Griffith University Children’s Book Award at the Queensland Literary Awards!

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WAYRBA 2014

The nominations for the 2014 West Australian Young Reader’s Book Awards have been announced and I’m delighted to learn that Duck for a Day appears on the Younger Readers list.

WAYRBA is a readers’ choice award, organised on a statewide basis for young readers, with students nominating their favourites. There are eighteen nominations in the Younger Readers category this year, mostly from Australia but with a couple of international titles in the mix. To the best of my knowledge, Duck for a Day is the only book in this category by a West Australian author. I haven’t had a book on the WAYRBA lists since my first novel, Annabel, Again, was nominated back in 2008, so I’m thrilled.

Once school goes back (tomorrow!), readers all over the state will start their engines and get down to the business of reading and voting for their favourites.

It’s great to see my little duck still quacking along; here’s hoping Max makes some new friends before voting closes at the end of September.

Paperback Bears

… are here, or not here, or something, depending on how silly you want to get with the whole bears/no bears thing.

The point is that No Bears is out in paperback, just in time for the ridiculously extended Christmas season, which the shops tell me reaches all the way back into October and beyond.

If you are looking for a bear-free gift for a small person in your life, this might be just the ticket. To sweeten the (honey) pot, Walker Books have created a door hanger which comes free with purchase. I have one on my study door and so far it has been wonderfully effective in keeping bears of all kinds at bay. Highly recommended.

In a small burst of writerly glee, I observe that the books have been printed with the CBC Shortlist sticker logo. This is a first for me and rather gratifying. I may have run my hands over it once or twice.