A crisp, cream-coloured envelope from the Office of the Hon. Simon Crean MP.
Inside, the letterhead thoughtfully centres the words Minister for the Arts under his other accomplishments.
Aaah, the penny plinks. I know what this is – my publisher entered Dust into the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards – it’s an acknowledgement letting me know that my book didn’t win (which of course, I already knew).
That honour went to fellow Woolshed author Bill Condon in the YA category for his fine novel CONFESSIONS OF A LIAR, THIEF AND FAILED SEX GOD, and to Lorraine Marwood’s Star Jumps in the children’s section.
Then my eyes lock onto the following paragraph:
‘Although only nine works were selected for the children’s fiction short-list, the judging panel felt it appropriate to recommend your book to the Prime Minister and me as a highly commended work. You should be very proud of this recognition for Dust.‘
Wow. I am. Really.
I had no idea that Dust had made a long list and been Highly Commended in the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards. Thanks for letting me know, Mr Crean, that is awesome news.
Mind you, I also had no idea that it had been entered in the Children’s category, which requires the work to be suitable for children aged 0 to 12 years.
Most of the schools that I know are studying Dust have set it for Years 8 and 9 and older. The CBCA listed it as Notable Book for Older Readers (ie 12 years and over). The NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge 2011 lists it for Years 7-9, but adds the rider “Contains adult themes. Usually read by students in Years 9, 10 and above.’
So, not sure how it scraped into the 0-12 years category, but will take any kudos, any way they come.
Thank you, Mr Crean, I really do appreciate you letting me know.