In honour of Book Week 2013 The Children’s Book Council of Australia Qld Branch held a dinner last Friday, the 16th of August, for the announcement of the Book of the Year Awards and the Dame Annabelle Rankin Award.
A great way to get an insight into the world of children’s literature in Australia.
Write Link buddies Melanie Hill, Rebecca Sheraton and I made up the delegation of newbie writers/ kidlit groupies.
A few of the things I learned:
- If you don’t know anyone, don’t arrive early and alone. Meet somewhere you know before entering a room full of published writers and illustrators who all seem to know each other.
- If you try to look inconspicuous while waiting for your friends to arrive, and you offer to help with table decorations, make sure you do it in stealth mode before every hospitality student there tries to rip mirror balls out of your hands. (I guess guests ARE supposed to mingle.)
- When I grow up I want to be just like Honour Award winner Tania Cox (With Nan.) She writes standing up using a lap top perched on the kitchen counter surrounded by her family. I am sure she juggles pots and pans while she does it all. I want some of her magic.
- You need patience in the children’s writing world. It took 15 years for Tania’s CBCA Honour Book, With Nan, to get published, and 12 of those were after her story was accepted.
- Do your research when writing novels. Sherryl Clark, gave a fabulous presentation including how to research pirates. She is a prolific writer and very nice too.
- Don’t say something stupid such as ‘And what do you do?’ to someone like James Moloney, who answered ‘I have written about 40 novels and make my living from that.’ When I explained I had started googling the authors and illustrators, he said that I had obviously not got to him then. Oops. (Another lesson: google everyone.)
- Hmm, think of a few intelligent questions before you get there.
- And decide what to call yourself. Aspiring writer? – Well, I may not be published but I sure do write. Pre-published author? – Bit pretentious. Author? – seeing as so far I have a short story in an anthology and one coming up in The School Magazine, that feels a bit like a cheat. Please let me know if you have the answer to that one.
- If you want to know more about blowing up Las Vegas, you need to talk to the very interesting Brian Falkner. Read Brainjack.
- If Lachlan Creagh gives you a picture book he has illustrated to look at during dessert, let the man finish his tart before relentlessly asking questions about his artwork. Check out, The Hottest Dingo, by Coral Vass.
- Either bring plenty of dollars, or leave your wallet at home so you are not tempted to spend a fortune on the book display.
- And bring a notebook. Though it would have looked a bit out of place here, it would have been handy. I learned lots and promptly forgot the important details such as the name of the Dame Annabelle Rankin Award recipient.
- We met some other talented authors and illustrators, but I wish I could have talked with illustrator Lucia Masciullo. Hopefully I get the chance at next month’s Story Arts Festival
- Judging the CBCA Book of the Year Awards seems equally fun and daunting. Mia Macrossan, one of the judges, talked us through the winners and honour books. They all sound amazing, and I need to get my hands on the ones I haven’t read yet as soon as possible.
To find out more about CBCA Book of the Year Awards 2013 winners check here.
And I did my research: the winner of the Dame Annabelle Rankin Award is Judith Russell. She is the teacher-librarian at Mt Gravatt SHS and the Qld rep for the May Gibbs Trust. Her passion and advocacy for children's literature is amazing.