Fiona Wood won the Book of the Year : Older Readers Award for her YA novel, Wildlife. Fiona gave this acceptance speech at the Awards Announcement at the National Library of Australia on Friday 15 August 2014.
Thank you, CBCA, for the wonderful work you do, year in, year out, promoting books and reading to young people. I am delighted and grateful that you have chosen Wildlife as Book of the Year, Older Readers for 2014. Thanks to the judges for your generous dedication of time and expertise to this huge task. I’m proud to stand with fellow shortlisted and notable writers; I acknowledge their beautiful work, and value the collegiality that we share as writers of Australian YA.
The CBCA Book of the Year Award is a seal of approval like none other, and I’m honoured indeed to join the ranks of past winners that include some of my favourite writers.
Reading during my teenage years was so important to me: it was a pleasure, a solace, a window into other lives; and to have the privilege of writing for this readership is something I never take for granted.
Writing exposes your heart; it turns you inside out. It’s the invasion of your conscious and subconscious mind by insistent characters, not one of whom knows the meaning of ‘weekend’, or ‘day off’. It’s rewriting and rewriting and rewriting until the gap between what you imagine and what you have on the page is as small as you can possibly make it. And that’s the easy part.
In coping with the hard parts – most of which fall into the category of churning self-doubt – I am grateful for sanity-restoring talks with Cath Crowley, Simmone Howell and Melina Marchetta.
Thank you to the Pan Macmillan team, particularly Claire Craig, my lovely publisher. This award is, of course, for you, too. I’ll never forget that very first phone call from you, which you started by saying, I love Dan. I will always be grateful to you.
I thank my agent, Cheryl Pienka, at Jill Grinberg Literary Management, for the amazing job she has done in extending the readership of Wildlife and Six Impossible Things into other countries and other languages.
The final thanks goes to my family – my husband, Jamie, and especially to our children, Zoe and George, who have not only read and given me helpful feedback on now three novel manuscripts, but who enabled me to see the teenage years through new prisms.
Thank you once again, CBCA – this means such a lot to me. I couldn’t be more thrilled.