Home From The YABBAs

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I’ve spent a wonderful morning with five of my terrific students and a whole lot more at the YABBA Award ceremony. The MC was Graham Davey who, apart from running YABBA, is a professional story teller and knows how to work the audience, who were delighted with him. There was a sort of Mr Squiggle thing in which children were invited up to do a scribble which three of the guest artists( well, two – one was Felice Arena, who’s a writer, author of the Specky McGee novels, but did a great bit of art)had to turn into a drawing.

Andy Griffiths won two prizes, one for Just Doomed(older readers), the other inducted into the Hall Of Fame as it had been nominated five times. The picture book prize went to Fearless In Love by Colin Thompson and illoed by Sarah Davis. The prize for younger readers went to Alice Miranda At School by Jacqueline Harvey, who couldn’t make it but sent a video message. The Year 7 to 9 prize went to Chris Morhew’s Phoenix FilesArrival. Chris, a teacher in NSW, couldn’t make it, so his publisher accepted the prize on his behalf. It was a reminder that most writers here have day jobs. If I hadn’t lived in Melbourne I couldn’t have made it either, but as it was, I wanted to grab the chance for my foundation book clubbers to have one more excursion together and we went.

I had three books to be signed for students who weren’t there. I had thought Vikki Wakefield would be coming, but she wasn’t there, so I’m afraid Jenny will have to have her copy of Friday Brown unsigned. 😦 As Dylan, one of my Year 10 students, was sick, I got him a copy of 26 StoreyTreehouse. Natasha had requested one of Oliver Phommavanh’s books – and guess what? The two gentlemen were sitting together in the author section and I sat next to them and asked for their autographs, which they gave readily, and very nice ones too, not just their names or “best wishes” but cute drawings. I introduced Kristen to Carole Wilkinson and she finally got a Dragonkeeper book signed. Selena had a chat with Gabrielle Wang, who signed for her in Chinese (Selena is a Chinese immigrant).

While my students wandered around mingling with the guests, I sat down for a signing and was pleasantly surprised at how many children asked for my autograph, two little girls even asking for a photo with me! The book stall, alas, didn’t have any of my books and I hadn’t brought any because it would have been too much to lug books home and then out again by train and tram, but I had brought a pile of Crime Time bookmarks and they all went. Hopefully some children will request copies at their libraries, at least, if not buy. 😉

We met my friend George Ivanoff,who has visited my school to launch Wolfborn, and two of the students bought copies of Gamer’s Challenge. (George is more cluey than I am and brought his own copies)

We left at a little after noon, with a lovely goody bag of some of the short listed books and others and, over lunch in town, sorted which ones the library already has and which it doesn’t. Those we already have I let them take home, while we have several new books to gloat over tomorrow at school. Thando had made sure the author’s who were there had signed. She also did an interview for the web site and from what I could hear, it was a good one.

Now to see if I can be invited again next year… And maybe take some of the younger students next time. It just wasn’t possible today – the event started in Kew at 9.30 and getting there from Sunshine,we would have had to leave well before school. I took the older ones who could meet me in town and be left at the station on the way home.

They must have felt like Gulliver in Lilliput, with the rest being primary kids, but had a great time anyway!

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