For the third year running, I was delighted to be shortlisted in the CYA Competition for unpublished authors in the non-fiction picture books category. And to be honest, I was absolutely stoked to take out both first and second place again with two manuscripts.
I’m not sure how many unpublished awards one must win before finally landing a contract, but I must be close. Surely?!
Despite the challenge of having non-fiction picture books even considered by publishers, I remain determined. I adore those rich books that blur the lines between information and story. As a mother, I love reading them to my kids. As a teacher, I know that there is a need for them, and the new Australian Curriculum demands them. And as a writer, they are my first love.
So I will continue to write them. I will write them and I will win awards for them. I will challenge the notion that non-fiction is boring. I will be a voice for birds and bugs and trees and rocks and everything that amazes kids about the world around them. It still amazes me.
As always though, the best part of CYA is the networking. This year my dear friend Kathryn Apel and I were roomies (which meant we stayed up late like schoolgirls talking about, well – everything). Her verse novel Bully on the Bus has been a sellout in its first week! I also managed to draw a few birds with Peter Carnavas, chat with Pamela Rushby about her latest novel, and catch up with Michelle Worthington. So many friends, so little time.
My thanks to the organisers of CYA, and especially to the editors who give up their time to judge the competition and offer advice. Congrats to all of the winners in other categories too. ‘Til next year…