awards

Cinnamon Girl in the awards world…

Champaign was popped, happy dancing was jigged, and random friends and 2012-04-05aworkmates hugged to the point where uncomfortable side-eyes were given. It’s that week in Oz children’s publishing, and The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl has made the shortlist for the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year 2015, Older Readers! In a year of so many extraordinary, diverse and wickedly good books, I’m thrilled and humbled that Cinnamon Girl was selected for the shortlist. Now to run to the bookstore for yet more fab books to add to my must-read pile (the one that’s about to topple off my side table and crush me in my sleep. Can’t think of a better way to go, really).

A giant thank you again to the wonderful CBCA judges, and huge congratulations to all the notable and shortlisted authors in all categories. Australian children’s publishing is such an amazingly warm and inspiring community of folks, and I’m so incredibly lucky to be part of it.

*throws celebratory confetti at everyone*

CBCA 2015 covers

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Somerset

Yes, okay, it’s been a while. The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl was published late last year, at which time I descended into that peculiar writer’s black hole known as OMG I MADE A BOOK BUT WHAT ON GOD’S GREEN EARTH AM I GOING TO DO NOW??? As with many writers, the answer was:

Eat chips.
Binge watch Netflix. All of it.
Call friends. Receive surprise that one is not dead, nor relocated to Alaska.
Clean everything, twice.
Open a blank page. Cry.
Eat chips.
Start writing.

After a short break over Christmas (where, sadly, no fully-formed manuscript was found beneath my tree), book three is finally starting to take shape. I like my new characters. I’m immersed in research. And I’m enjoying revisiting some old, much-loved friends. It’s probably going to take a while. It’s a slippery, indeterminate thing, this writing business.

Mr Darcy

In the meantime, I’ve been out and about – most recently in the sunny Gold Coast for the Somerset Celebration of Literature. Did I say sunny? I meant HOTTER THAN THE FIRES OF MORDOR. Yeah, it was really, really hot – and also one of the funnest, most awesome literary festivals I’ve been lucky enough to be part of. For three days, a contingent of writers descended on Somerset College for talks, workshops, panel discussions, book signings, dinners, fireworks, ice-cream, and general bookish shenanigans with fifteen thousand young people who passed through the gates.

I hung out with some old writerly friends and made some brand new ones, and met some truly exceptional, interesting students. Big shout out to everyone who came along, everyone who took the time to come visit my signing table for a chat, and the Somerset Festival Committee for organising such a fantabulous event.

And, in the midst of all the festival fun, this happened too:

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THAT’S RIGHT! The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl is long-listed for the 2015 Gold Inky Award! Here’s me, and Inky, and the very lovely Clare Atkins, author of Nona and Me, and all round wonderful writer person. Check out the rest of the Inky list here.

And some more award news…

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Fantabulous news over the weekend – Life in Outer Space has been shortlisted for the 2014 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards! The following books were shortlisted in each award category:

Fiction

A World of Other People by Steven Carroll (HarperCollins)
The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan (Vintage Australia)
The Night Guest by Fiona McFarlane (Penguin: Hamish Hamilton)
Coal Creek by Alex Miller (Allen & Unwin)
Belomor by Nicolas Rothwell (Text Publishing)

Non-Fiction

Moving Among Strangers by Gabrielle Carey (University of Queensland Press)
The Lucky Culture by Nick Cater (HarperCollins Publishers)
Citizen Emperor by Philip Dwyer (Bloomsbury Publishing)
Rendezvous with Destiny by Michael Fullilove (Penguin)
Madeleine: A Life of Madeleine St John by Helen Trinca (Text Publishing)

Prize for Australian History

Broken Nation: Australians in the Great War by Joan Beaumont (Allen & Unwin)
First Victory 1914 by Mike Carlton (Random House)
Australia’s Secret War: How unionists sabotaged our troops in World War II by Hal G.P. Colebatch (Quadrant Books)
Arthur Phillip: Sailor, Mercenary, Governor, Spy by Michael Pembroke (Hardie Grant Books)
The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka by Clare Wright (Text Publishing)

Poetry

Tempo by Sarah Day (Puncher & Wattmann Poetry)
Eldershaw by Stephen Edgar (Black Pepper)
1953 by Geoff Page (University of Queensland Press)
Drag Down to Unlock or Place an Emergency Call by Melinda Smith (Pitt Street Poetry)
Chains of Snow by Jakob Ziguras (Pitt Street Poetry)

Young Adult Fiction

The Incredible Here and Now by Felicity Castagna (Giramondo)
Pureheart by Cassandra Golds (Penguin)
Girl Defective by Simmone Howell (Pan Macmillan)
Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil (Hardie Grant Egmont)
The First Third by Will Kostakis (Penguin)

Children’s Fiction

Silver Buttons by Bob Graham (Walker Books )
Song for a Scarlet Runner by Julie Hunt (Allen & Unwin)
My Life as an Alphabet by Barry Jonsberg (Allen & Unwin)
Kissed by the Moon by Alison Lester (Puffin)
Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan (Hachette)

Congratulations to all the shortlisted authors – my must-read pile is now teetering precariously, but I’m looking forward to getting stuck into some of these wonderful books. You can read more about the award here, and the official Prime Minister’s Literary Awards press release here.

And more award news…

In a week that continues to be unreal, Life in Outer Space has been shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year 2014, Older Readers. In the children’s publishing departments where I have worked, there’s a bit of a tradition on shortlist day, of poring over the CBCA website while undertaking multiple refreshes as the announcements roll out. As an editor, it is always exciting to see a book you’ve been involved with being recognized; I can’t describe how cool, and wonderfully overwhelming it is to see my book up there too.

Giant thanks to the CBCA judges, and to my amazing Ampersand publishers at Hardie Grant Egmont. And, a heartfelt congratulations to all the other notable and shortlisted authors! Looking forward to catching up on some reading between now and the August Book Week announcement…

2014 CBCA Older Readers

 

Award news!

LiOS COVEREXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT! Life in Outer Space has been chosen as the winner of the 2014 Ena Noel Award, a biennial IBBY Australia Encouragement Award for Literature for Young People. Past winner include Markus Zusak, Sonya Hartnett, Catherine Jinks, and a host of other wonderful writers who I’m totally honoured to be in the company of.

You can find out more about the award here

The good people at IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) have this to say:

Melissa Keil’s debut novel arrived on the YA scene with a refreshing, individual style which has impressed not only its target audience but also readers across generations…Keil has a superb knack of capturing the teenage ‘cringe’ factor: the beach picnic episode is a laugh-out-loud account of awkwardness and developing confidence. The ingenuous style of this novel makes it highly readable and amusing.

Colour me chuffed.