Today the three-way blogging conversation between Sally Murphy, Meg McKinlay and myself continues with the topic of things like shortlists, awards and recognition. You can find Sally’s post here and Meg’s post here.
It has always been a special delight of mine to see a book I love properly acknowledged. I cheered audibly when Sonya Hartnett won the Astrid Lingren Memorial Award for The Silver Donkey. I bought myself a second copy just for the pleasure of seeing it properly celebrated. I also have fond memories of my primary school class reviewing all the books on a shortlist one year and picking our own winners. The judges eventually concurred with my choice, which was Emily Rodda’s Pigs Might Fly. I took this as affirmation of my own impeccable taste and I’m sure behaved insufferably all week as a result.
And of course there are other books which I feel badly deserve this kind of recognition and never seem to get it. I won’t list those in case it seems like rubbing it in, but I will say that my mind’s eye can very clearly see all the appropriate stickers on the covers.
A particular shortlist that led to much undignified dancing and whooping in my home was the CBCA Children’s Book of the Year Award last year, because it included Meg, Sally and myself. (I wrote about it at the time, here and here.) It meant that our books could be part of book week, so all kinds of people became involved in bringing our stories to life. I don’t think I knew, when I first received the happy phone call, quite how amazing it would be. School children sang and watched puppets and actors recreate Meg’s book, Duck for a Day, on stage. Children created fabulous domino topples all around Australia, inspired by Sally’s book, Toppling. And I was so excited to discover a video of children at Hassal Grove outlining their own brilliant plots, in manner of Violet Mackerel.
Samuel Johnson wrote, “A writer only begins a book. A reader finishes it.” I like this idea very much and I watched with astonishment as the books we began were finished over and over in beautiful, exciting, creative ways, all week long.
However, because I am the sort of person who slightly dreads any kind of formal, proper, you-really-ought-to-try-and-do-something-with-your-hair-Anna-or-at-least-brush-it occasions, I also get a bit nervous about awards and ceremonies when they involve me personally. So I love the photos on Stephen Michael King’s website of him receiving one of many awards for his beautiful books. I think they are absolutely perfect.
And I do not think he brushed his hair.
[The original images appear here with some lovely text too, not to mention a long list of very thoroughly earned awards.]