Coral Vass and Dub Leffler won the 2019 Book of the Year Award: Eve Pownall Award for Sorry Day. The Award was presented at Deakin Edge, Federation Square, Melbourne on Friday 16 August. These are Coral and Dub’s acceptance speeches.
What an honour it is to win this award.
Firstly, I’d like to acknowledge and thank the Children’s Book Council of Australia and the judges, for putting Sorry Day in the spotlight. I am delighted for this book. I am delighted for the recognition of the Stolen Generations of Australia and the platform this award allows for truth telling in this country.
A massive thank you to Dub Leffler, for the incredible and humble man that you are. It was absolute joy to partner with you and I am blessed to call you my friend. Thank you for being willing to illustrate this book. I know it was an emotional, and at times difficult journey for you. Thank you for your stunning illustrations, that brought this book to life and made it what it is. Without you, there would be no book.
To our amazing Publisher Susan Hall and the team at the National Library of Australia. Thank you. Thank you for having the courage to publish this book. Thank you for producing such a beautiful book. And thank you for being the best publisher to work with.
And finally thank you to my wonderful husband and my family for their constant love and their support.
Sorry Day is, in essence, an educational resource for young Australians.
In that one powerful word, SORRY, there is hope – that what has been, would never be again. These conversations are not easy to have, they are not comfortable to have, but they are essential to have. Its truth telling. It’s the history of all of us, both Indigenous and Non-Indigenous.
And as we move forward as a nation, I am convinced, it is only in acknowledging past wrongs, that forgiveness is facilitated, healing can begin and reconciliation can be achieved.
I acknowledge the Boon Wurrung & Wurendjeri peoples of the Kulin nation.
It is with great honour that I co-accept this award with Coral for a story that really, should never have been written. This history should not exist.
But I’m lifted in knowing that people are telling this story & sharing it with others.
I cried when Illustrating this book. I believe it to be the most important one I will ever illustrate.
I have to thank Susan Hall from The National Library for publishing the book and for Amy Cullen & Irma Gold for finessing the final work.
And lastly, for Coral Vass – for seeing the necessity of creating such a book so that children of the future may know their past.