I was unloading bags of feed in the shed when my wife called to me from the house. Telephone. My publisher, Margaret Hamilton. “Are you sitting down?” Margaret asked, and then told me that My Dog had won two major national literary awards. It had been judged Book of the Year for Young Readers, and had also won the Honour Book prize in the Picture Book section of the Children’s Book Council of Australia awards. “This is unprecedented,” Margaret howled. “Fantastic!”
I barely heard anything else she said. I had leapt up and was whooping and yelling and running around the yard like a soccer player who’d scored. I had scored. My Dog had previously been shortlisted for these awards, as well as in the NSW Premier’s Award for Literature. But no matter how secretly I wished for a win, I had mentally prepared myself for nothing.
These awards don’t change the book in any way. It is still a very special story as far as I’m concerned, one that came from deep inside. What they do for an author is build up his or her profile, sell more books, and (most importantly of all) restore the confidence that often sinks to very low levels. I was walking on water for weeks after that telephone call.
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