Winner of the 2020 NSW Premier’s Award for Children’s Literature!
April 26th, 2020
Have you ever had a secret that you absolutely couldn’t tell anybody until a certain date? And you couldn’t wait to tell people about it, but at the same time it was really delicious holding it to yourself, and knowing that hardly anybody else knew about it?
At the beginning of April, illustrator Jonathan Bentley and I each got an email to say that our picture book Ella and the Ocean had won the Patricia Wrightson Prize, which is the New South Wales Premier’s Award For Children’s Literature. And that we weren’t allowed to tell anybody. In fact, we had to sign a very serious document, saying that we wouldn’t breathe a word about it until the winners were announced on April 26th. Almost four weeks away!
I was bursting with the news. But the only person I could talk to about it was Jonathan. So I sent him an email that said, ‘Did you get the email from NSW Premier’s awards???? AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’
Jonathan is in England, so it was several hours before I heard from him. His email said, ‘WHAT!!! WE WON!!!!!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!’
We ended up talking on the phone, because we were both bursting, and couldn’t tell anyone else. And that was the first time we had ever spoken to each other.
Since then, I haven’t told anyone, because I knew that if I told a single soul, it would be almost impossible not to tell someone else, and someone else, and someone else. So I just pretended that I had no idea who had won it.
But every now and again I would take my secret out like a hidden treasure, and cup it in my hands so no one else could see it, and laugh with the sheer joy of it.
I am very happy.