Awards and glamour and headcolds
So now that I'm an (ahem) award-winning author, I'd like to say that my life has suddenly become elegant, streamlined and exciting but after a day spent on the couch with a miserable headcold and a miserable two year old (from whom I caught the miserable headcold) I can safely say that winning 3rd place in the 2012 Australian Book of the Year Award is not going to have a particularly glamorous effect on my life.
I did make sure I got a pretty fab haircut before I took my girls to Melbourne with me for the awards night. If I wasn't going to win, I wanted to lose with a great 'do'. Shopping in Bourke St when we arrived felt rather elegant, and I did spend some money on a pair of earrings to go with the hair. $6 at Diva gets you quite a lot!
The evening itself was quite a big deal. The keynote speaker, Religion and Ethics editor from the ABC, Scott Stephens gave the most phenomenal address. I would have liked to have had a transcript to go over it later and understand the philosophical implications of what he said.
Music from The ANSA added a touch of class and three actors presented riveting dramatic readings from all the prize-winning books and manuscripts, although it was a little odd to hear my voice from my book read in an Irish accent.
It was looong though, and I felt for my 12 year old sitting through it and my friend's 8 year old daughter falling asleep beside her. But it was a classy event and definitely worth the trip. The highlight was the performance by Stevie Wills, a poet with cerebral palsy.
I was awarded 3rd prize for Australian Book of the Year, losing out to Geoffrey Blainey's A History of Christianity in Australia which came second and first prize winner Murray Seiffert's Gumbuli, a biography of the first Aboriginal ordained in the Northern Territory, both of which are important books.
My speech was dreadful. I had scribbled a few notes and got as far as "I'd like to thank my husband who always encourages me, and my children I learn new things from you all every day." But then my lip started to wobble and I could feel the tears coming up and I thought, "I don't feel like crying in public Yet Again" so I said, "That's it. I've got to go," and walked off the stage.
If my emotions had been under my control I would have also said the following things:
"Yesterday was my son's 9th birthday. He has come so far. God has been answering our prayers. This win is a shot in the arm for anyone who is struggling with a difficult situation or living with a chronic problem. This win says 'You're not alone' and people will support you. So don't give up. Live it with the strength you can find in Jesus." I also would have mentioned the 500+ people who joined up with our Facebook page and who support me and get support themselves from the things we post.
Then I would have smiled and looked appropriately happy and left the stage with dignity intact. But hey, it doesn't always happen the way you choose, right?
Anyway, I feel honoured and pleased and pretty chuffed that my little book got up, and I'd like to thank you for your support and love and kindness in it all. Even if life isn't glamorous all of a sudden, it's still good and I'm very grateful.