31, Mar 2014

The Tom Fitzgibbon


In 2012 I entered my first book, How I Alienated my Grandma, for the Storylines Tom Fitzgibbon award. Administered by the Storylines Children’s Literature Charitable Trust, the award is made annually to an unpublished, New Zealand author of a work of fiction for children between 7 and 13 years of age. The award carries a monetary prize and an offer of publication by Scholastic New Zealand. Entries have to be in by October, and are announced in March the following year.

As a new author, I didn’t have any expectations of winning. But because I’d spent so long writing it, I wanted to do something to give my manuscript a chance at becoming published.

Imagine my surprise when I received a call in February 2014 informing me that my manuscript had won the Tom Fitzgibbon award!

The chairperson of the Storyline’s Children’s Literature Charitable Trust, Dr. Libby Limbrick, must have been very bemused during that call. I think I asked her at least 20 times if she was serious! I have to say, she was very patient with me.

Last weekend I flew up to Auckland to receive the award which was presented at the Margaret Mahy day on Saturday 29th of March alongside the other awards that Storylines administer. What a thrill to witness the launch of the previous winner’s book, to receive my award, to see my friend and fellow author Mark Brady short-listed three times across two different awards, and to meet so many of the wonderful community of children’s authors and illustrators we have in this country. I am indebted to so many people for their help and support, and to Storylines and Scholastic for making this incredible opportunity possible.