Wednesday, April 13, 2016
It was an honour to be shortlisted for an Aurealis Award, and it was amazing to have been a finalist along with so many great names - writers I admire and some whose work I have been reading for longer than I can remember. It was a real thrill to have had my story considered worthy.
Awards are a funny thing. Most writers will tell you they're not that important, that they're not the reason we write. Which is certainly true in my case. But they are something many of us long for. I know I would love to receive an award or two. Writing is a solitary endeavour, and contact with our reading audience can be minimal. We might receive an encouraging note or an email, usually from someone we know. We might even be lucky enough to get a positive mention in a review. But an award or nomination, especially for a jury-judged award like the Aurealis, gives us some sense of validation. It makes us feel like maybe we can do this, and maybe we can do it reasonably well.
Many writers, myself included, live with nagging self doubts. About our abilities, about our words, about our goals. In the weeks leading up to the Aurealis Awards ceremony I honestly gave little thought to the outcome. Occasionally it would cross my mind, and I would swing wildly between 'I have no chance' to 'You never know - after all my story was deemed worthy enough to be a finalist.' In the last few hours leading up to the announcements, however, I must admit the pending result played on my mind quite a bit. I was walking through the streets of London, checking my phone for free wi-fi as I passed coffee shops, updating my newsfeed, and hoping I would be lucky enough to see my name as a winner.
Unfortunately that wasn't to be.
I had the amazing Cat Sparks lined up as my proxy to accept the award (and ensuing free drinks), and despite Cat's assurances I only needed to say "I love youse all", I had written something a little longer than that. My speech included thanks to the publisher, Keith Stevenson, my crit and writing buddy, David McDonald, my best friend, Fenna, and my wife Lindsey.
Was I disappointed I didn't win? Of course. Did I feel cheated? Not in the least. Jason is one mean writer, and it truly was an honour to be shortlisted alongside him and the others. Indeed, congratulations to all winners and other finalists.
And if I've done it once, I can surely get my name on that list again. Surely, I can.
And I do love youse all.