Writing picture books is not for the faint hearted, and any emerging author will agree that it is hard to land that first contract. A little recognition goes a long way in balancing out all of the rejection. That’s why this year’s CYA Competition was such a confidence booster for me.
Last year I placed 2nd in the unpublished Non-Fiction Picture book category. I was delighted, but it still didn’t lead to a publishing deal. This year I wanted to really make my mark in the category - and I did! Not only did I win 1st place, but I also took out 2nd and 3rd as well. Hopefully one of these three manuscripts will find a home with a publisher, and I will finally move from aspiring author to published.
A few other authors (and a couple of publishers) have asked why I persist with writing creative non-fiction, which is quite hard to have published. The answer is simply because I love it. I fondly remember non-fiction picture books from my childhood, they are my favourite texts to work with in the classroom, and I love exploring them with my own children. I never tire of stories about the natural world, and particularly about Australia’s incredible diversity of wildlife. Every year when the CBCA shortlist is announced, I jump straight to the Eve Pownall Award to see who has been nominated for information picture books. This year I highly recommend Python (Walker Books, Nature Storybook Series) and Lyrebird! A True Story (Museum Victoria).
Perhaps, one day, my name will be on the list too…