I've yet to read The Bunker Diary and I should because my WIP is a Room meets… but I have read Shine by our own SCBWI British Isles', Candy Gourlay which has not only won SCBWI's Crystal Kite Award for the The UK & Ireland, it's also been long listed for this year's Guardian's Children's Fiction Prize on quite a short longlist of eight!
Huge Guardian congratulations go to two other SCBWI members as well, Piers Torday, also part of our British Isles' Chapter, for The Dark Wild and the US' Kate Di Camillo for Flora and Ulysses who 'collected hundreds of rejection letters' before she was published.
Prompted by Kevin Brooks, I've been considering 'hope' and how 'a vain hope' did not become a cliché for no reason. Hope can often be as vain as real life endings are unhappy. Often, but not always and that's where the hope lies - in the tantalising possibility that all could be well, that someday someone could offer representation, buy your book, slap a medal wherever it is medals are slapped. It's people like Kate Di Camillo who stabilise wavering hopes and widen the slimmest windows of possibility with attitudes like this…
…when so much is out of our control, I love that persistence is something we can control. And this is why we have stories like yesterday's, of octogenarian José Patterson's success with The People's Prize and Janet Foxley whose experience as an older debut you can read about on Wednesday. Janet, in fact heralds a hopeful month - July is Debut month.
Last week we had a diversity (hurray) of Unicorns from Ken Lymer - they're often white but not always, the wonderful image of Nick Cross manning the school fête bookstall - just can't get Shirley Hughes' Dogger out of my head and some possibly plot enhancing Americanisms to watch out for
from Catriona Tippin. To conclude our month of Dahl, we also had an illustrator's discovery of the ecstatic art that is Quentin Blake's from Heather Chapman.
Next week, with Janet Foxley, we have our latest Podcast and that's TOMORROW with Sarah Odedina of Hot Key Books . What's the one thing Sarah wishes every author would do? Hmm… 'tune in' to find out. And Heather Chapman will be with us again, reporting on the recent Illustration Fair.
Hoping your hopes are ever widening and never wavering; published, unpublished writers and illustrators I wish you another week of persistence...
...and pay offs. Congratulations again Candy, Piers and Kate,
P.S. We had a lovely time with Sarah Lean in Southampton on Saturday - write up to follow!