The (relatively minor) bad news is, on the day of the award I was in Philadelphia, USA instead of Melbourne, Australia. I really would have loved to go, but it’s Teen Reads Week here in America. We’ve had many manic appearances this week, all of them scheduled before the award nominations were announced. Argh.
Fortunately, the wonderful Lili Wilkinson sent me an email this morning describing the affair:
The awards dinner was at Zinc at Federation Square, which is Very Fancy. The food was fabulous and the wine was bountiful. The YA award was the very first one, announced by MC William McInnes, who was very charming and attractive. Then we did a live cross to the country town of Sale, where some SLV staff were on hand with six fabulous Young People. The first three announced the three shortlisted books. The fourth said a few sentences about The Running Man, and the fifth spoke about So Yesterday, saying “This is a book about being cool, which is something I can really relate to”. He got cheers from the audience. Then the sixth Young Person announced the winner (you), and Bob [Sessions] came up, said a few words about how sensible you were to marry an Australian so you can be part of all this, and read your speech. Then we all clapped and cheered, bade farewell to the Young People in Sale, and ate some very nice seared tuna.
Here’s the Melbourne Herald Sun article about it.
There are many thanks to give, but I included most of them in my acceptance speech (read on my behalf by Bob Sessions):
“New” is another word for perilous. When I moved to Australia in 2001, I’d been married for less than a month and had just signed a contract for my first young adult books. This was a new country, a new marriage, and a new career. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the first scene of the first book I wrote here was set on the first day of school, that most terrifying commencement in any young person’s life.
But fresh chapters in our lives can also inspire, at least when there are new friends and allies to be made. In Australia, I have found them in abundance. Let me name three:
The Australian science fiction community has welcomed me unreservedly, even though my American upbringing means I can name only a single Dr. Who out of seven. (Or is it eight now? Nine?)
Penguin Australia has given my books a home here, marketing them skillfully and ameliorating my spelling without complaint.
The Centre for Youth Literature here in Melbourne have championed my work with tremendous enthusiasm, and have also given me the benefit of their wide reading and wonderful conversation. Special thanks to Agnes Nieuwenhuizen for building the Centre into such a wonderful resource.
It is to these friends and allies that I owe any success in my new career. This generous award is simply the icing on a cake with many layers.
Thanks to you all.