Saturday, September 22, 2012

Western Australian Premier's Book Awards

I went to Perth.
On the plane I read Away by Amy Bloom. You all should read that book.
It was warm and sultry in Perth, storms forecast though the sky was blue and empty.
I caught a taxi with Max Barry, Mif Farquharson and Rose Lucas.
I raved fannishly at Rose Lucas about her wonderful Bridgings anthology, in which the critical theory resonates with the same playfulness, the same rhythms, as the poetry. I don't know of many other projects that layer poetry and critical theory side by side like this in a way where each informs and performs the other.
I met Alice Pung. She was lovely. I might have invited myself over for a cup of tea.
I went to the State Library. I am always at home in libraries.
I went back to the hotel. I am never at home in hotels.
I went to King's Park State Reception Centre.
I mingled.
I made a speech. *spoilers*
I amused myself with the fact that Max Barry's man fans were oddly like 16 year old teenage girl fans.
I bought a book for Una's birthday and had it signed.

The sky opened. The storm. It rained. It rained and rained.
We ran in the rain to the bus and then we were driven to The Old Brewery. I was sitting opposite the very interesting Matthew Allen (and his equally interesting wife whose name I didn't catch, which goes to show how bad I am at mingling).
In the morning there was breakfast and a pale stormless sky. There was checking out and a quick walk. There was checking back in to get my wall charger for my phone. There was checking out again. There was a taxi. There was the airport. There was the plane. I read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. It didn't make me cry, but I loved this quote:

“I believe the universe wants to be noticed. I think the universe is probably biased toward consciousness, that it rewards intelligence in part because the universe enjoys its elegance being observed. And who am I, living in the middle of history, to tell the universe that it-or my observation of it-is temporary?”(Copied from Good Reads)

What did I say in my speech? After thanking the Premier and the people of Western Australia, I told them that my mother had once lived in Western Australia, which I think was the furthest from Tasmania she could get. It was a long time before I was born. From something she once told me, she was nursing a broken heart. So Western Australia is part of my family folklore. Also I have always been aware of Western Australia having a very distinctive literary tradition of its own. And I am proud now to be part of that history.
Only Ever Always, winner of the Western Australian Premier's Book Award for best Young Adult.
Rest of the winners can be found here.


  1. Oh that's wonderful, Penni, congratulations! Just yesterday I was thinking - I wonder what Penni's up to these days...

  2. timsterne10:12 PM

    I had somehow missed the news of this award. Congratulations!

    I once wrote a fairly negative review of a Max Barry book and braced myself for fan fallout, but none came. (I was only slightly disappointed.)

  3. And many more! that is a marvellous book, Penni.

  4. Anonymous8:24 AM

    I wonder if Myf Warhurst is wondering how she got into a taxi with you in Perth. You were in the taxi with me! Mif Farquharson. :)

  5. How embarrassing. Fixed!
    And this is why the world needs editors.

  6. Tim Pegler12:20 PM

    Brilliant news. Congrats, Penni.

  7. Quadelle12:21 AM

    Congratulations! When I get back to reading for fun instead of just study I am looking forward to indulging myself in this book. :)

  8. Michelle Crawford7:18 PM

    A very belated congrats to you, Penni!

  9. Congratulations, Penni! And sorry to have missed you. I'm over in Perth sounds like you hit some of the best spots, though, and I'm glad you enjoyed yourself!

  10. Nice article, thanks for the information.

  11. Nice article, thanks for the information.

  12. Anonymous11:39 AM

    Hi Penni, well done! Western Australia is a bit like Tasmania. Remote, rugged, a place for great adventures. Seems like a perfect setting for an award for you my love.
    I haven't read this book but have added it to my Christmas reading list.
    Hope you and your darlings are happy and well.
    Sending you peace and love, kath x