I was really honoured to win the Children's Book Council of Australia's 2009 Crichton Award for Mending Lucille. Hachette kindly flew me up to the Gold Coast - thanks everyone! - so that I could go to the award ceremony. The theme of Book Week 2009 is "Book Safari", so the venue was chosen because it ties in well with the theme - positively bursting at the seams with sharks, dolphins, sealions, giant squid... no really! They keep it in a special secret tank below the rollercoaster... Anyway, the venue was a brilliant choice, and lent the proceedings a fun atmosphere. Some of the speakers had to pause to let the seals in the buildings at the rear get all the barking and yelping out of their systems (Fish!! Bring FISH!!! Wow, you brought FISH!!! Gulp, chew, silence).
The CBCA organised a great day, and it was good to hear the winners talking about the process of creating their books, and what inspired them. I've avoided posting photos of anyone in case they feel like they were having a bad hair day and don't want their likenesses spread all over the interwebs, but I met (or at least breathed the same air as) some illustrators, authors and publishers whose work I've admired for a long time - like Shaun Tan, Matt Ottley, Bob Graham, Julie Vivas, and Stephen Michael King. I even got a chance to wander round and watch the crazy seal show and the dolphins for an hour or so with Shaun Tan, Jodie Webster from Allen and Unwin who edited Tales from Outer Suburbia, and Tegan Morrison, the luverly publicist from Hachette (my date for the day!) It was especially nice to meet Helen Chamberlin from Lothian books in person. Helen's the editor of Mending Lucille, but the whole time we were working on the book we only ever chatted via email! By the way, the CBCA is run entirely by volunteers who work really hard to promote children's literature, so props to them! Join your local branch if you can.
Want proof I was in the vicinity of dolphins? Here's a photo...I know, I know - that doesn't prove anything really. But its true - the dolphin was bored and kept looking at us in case we might be more interesting than its tank. We weren't, apparently.