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Today the finalists for the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards were announced. This is cause for much celebration amongst us supporting Children’s Literature, particularly in Wellington where no less than eleven of the writers and illustrators of the twenty books short listed books have been named. This means that per head of population- we here in Welly are doing pretty damned well aren’t we?
And I say ‘we’ like it’s a personal triumph. Well, it feels like it and I spent a moment to wonder ‘why I am so excited for everyone?’ Well, it boils down to this: I have some sort of connection with almost every author and illustrator on the list. From touring with them, drinking coffee and /or wine with them, being on the television with them, watching them meet impossible deadlines in their studios, e-mailing and blogging with them, using their books as examples of fine illustration and writing when running courses, making armour with them at Weta, being mentored by them, illustrating for them, or judging books last year with them…you see New Zealand is a wonderfully small place and it is possible to know and experience a great deal of talent personally. So I’m feeling the love!
Congratulations to all my talented friends and colleagues. Your joy is mine too, and I look forward to applauding you on the night! And if you didn’t get short listed this year and are feeling a little blue, then consider that the ones who did are representing us all to the rest of the world when it comes to Children’s Book Publishing and we all have a part in their success in some way with friendship, moral support, networking, reviewing and helping launch each other in our careers. We just can’t do it all alone.