Last Saturday was a big day in my new life as published author. My agent holds an annual event consisting of a full day seminar followed by an awards dinner. I had no idea what to expect, and I was to give a fifteen minute presentation at the seminar. All very nerve-wracking.
Turned out to be a great day. Sitting next to me was Estelle Pinney, author of six (or more?) novels set in Queensland in an earlier time. She was delightful, and I felt very comfortable with her at my side. Then I went on to meet lots of other published authors, many of them have been at it for a long time. I heard great speakers, and, to my relief, what I had to say went over well too.
Selwa Anthony is the champion of Australian voices, and has dozens of fiction writers in her stable. This year, however, it was memoir that dominated. Here is a small selection of the people I met and the books they have written:
- Sophie Hardcastle, an amazing 21 year old who has lays bare her story of mental illness in “Running Like China”.
- Rebecca Poulson, another amazing woman who writes of the homicide of her father, niece and nephew in “Killing Love”. The murderer was her brother-in-law.
- Sue Smethurst, author of “Behind Closed Doors”, written through interviews with Catherine X, who recounts her story of her thirty years of sexual abuse at the hands of her father – to whom she bore four children.
- Sue Williams, an award-winning journalist, who lightened the mood with her hilarious talk about interviewing subjects for her various books. including Father Bob: The Larrikin Priest; Women of the Outback; and No Time For Fear – the story of shark attack survivor Paul de Gelder – who was a presenter at the evening event. Sue’s latest book is: Gene Genius.
- Zoe Boccabella, author of two memoirs of the Italian-Australian experience: Mezza Italiana and Joe’s Fruit Shop & Milk Bar.
- Belinda Neil (Under Seige) and Karen Davis (Sinister Intent, Deadly Obsession) have been friends for twenty years, ever since they met at the police academy. Now they are both writers. In her memoir Belinda shows us the stress on homicide investigators and negotiators, while Karen novelises her experience using uniformed cop character Lexie Rogers.
The evening banquet was a very smart affair, with the oh-so-glamorous Tara Moss donning a vintage look for her role as award presenter. And, as you will have guessed from the not so subtle photograph at the top of this post, I took out the award for “Strength of Purpose“.
In presenting the award the audience was told:
The next Sassy winner knew their story had to be told. A memoir, of family violence, forced adoption and ultimately, triumphant survival. The Sassy Award for Strength of Purpose definitely belongs to Gwen Wilson for I Belong to No One published by Hachette Australia.
My thank you speech was not quite so fluent and eloquent!!
I hope I have inspired some of my regular followers across the seas to take a closer look at Australian authors. This is only a smattering of the talent that was on show last Saturday. And speaking of “on show”, this is how my book looks in the shop after I have summoned up the nerve to ask the shop-keeper if he or she would like me to sign their stock: