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Dr MacIntyre announced the winner of the Nance Donkin Award for 2011 to be Isobelle Carmody. By co-incidence, Isobelle was at that very moment accepting an award for Book of the Year and was unable to attend our meeting. The Award was accepted on her behalf by her daughter, Adelaide, and her friend, Rosie Borella. Rosie and Adelaide spoke about Isobelle's work and Rosie read a speech from Isobelle.
The contents of Rosie and Isobelle's speeches appear below.
I can’t help feeling like the Chosen One, from one of Isobelle Carmody’s fantasy novels.
It’s a total thrill to be here, today, to accept this very, very prestigious award on Isobelle’s behalf. My name is Rosie Borella and I’m here with Isobelle’s daughter Adelaide, who will actually receive the award on behalf of her Mum. I was at their place recently and saw a Mother’s Day card from Adelaide that said something like: ‘You’re the best Mum in the whole wide world. Even if you are kind of weird’.
Kind of weird, but kind of famous.
Most authors wouldn’t dare to dream about a national award for a lifetime of achievement in their chosen genre. You’d think to get an award like this, you’d need to be 85 not out and ready for the nursing home. Isobelle, of course, is barely a fresh-faced fifty.
And you’ll also be thinking, Isobelle must be in Prague, because she isn’t here to accept this award in person. But you’d be wrong. The only reason she can’t be here today is because of an amazing coincidence.
Those of you who know Isobelle will know that her life is full of amazing coincidences. Today’s is that she is – and here I’ll hand over to Adelaide to tell it. We’ll just check our watches.
Mum is - this same hour, same day, on a podium right this minute – receiving the CBC Book of the Year Award for ‘The Red Wind’ (applause)
Thank you Adelaide! Today I feel like the Chosen One because Isobelle is that rare kind of writer who isn’t completely reclusive and has lots and lots of friends, from all round the world. She can be reclusive, to meet deadlines, but she is also incredibly good fun, and very, very generous with her time and her friendships. She has been my friend and writing mentor for a long time.
If she was here in person, she’d be very humble and say there are many authors she’d think just as deserving of this award. But I don’t have to say that.
Isobelle works tremendously hard, to a very high standard, and her books have a huge national and international following. She began writing the Obernewytn Chronicles when she was still at school, just a bit older than Adelaide.
When the final Obernewytn book is published in 2012, she might have that wistful feeling that childhood is over. She’s grown up with the series, shaping it as it has shaped her. And there have been many other books along the way. And many awards.
Some of her most prestigious awards from a long list are:
1994 CBC Book of the Year award (older readers) for The Gathering. Then let’s take 2006 – it was a bumper year. She won the Golden Aurealis award for Alyzon Whitestarr
- Young Adult Novel: Aurealis award for Alyzon Whitestarr
- Children's Long Fiction: Aurealis award winner for The Legend Of Little Fur.
She has published more than 30 books and is in demand as a speaker in schools and writing workshops here and overseas. Travelling between two homes in Australia and the Czech republic, she is constantly juggling writing deadlines.
This award seems particularly apt. High achieving women are often very generous with their time and insights. While doing all of the above, and raising her lovely daughter, Isobelle also – somehow – finds time to mentor and nurture many up-and-coming authors. She gives so much back to her industry. For years she has been a fantastic role model to many aspiring writers. I am just one of those, and I am incredibly grateful.
Now here are some words from Isobelle herself.
Rosie reading Isobelle’s speech:
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am truly delighted to accept the Biennial Nance Donkin Memorial Award and I would like to thank those members of the Society for Women Writers for nominating me among those women writers for Children that they considered worthy of this special award. I would especially like to thank Pam MacIntyre, who is herself an important and acknowledged and knowledgeable force within the world of children’s Literature, for choosing my name from a list of women I am sure were all worthy of this honor.
Nance Donkin was a pioneer and leading light in the world of Australian literature for children. Like me, she began her writing career as a teenager and when she was older, a love of research and gift for words led to a string of successful novels for children. I am sure she would have been touched by the award established in her name- it is a fitting memorial and any writer receiving it must feel this same delight.
I only regret that I am unable to be there to accept this award myself, and yet it is particularly appropriate that my lovely daughter, Adelaide is accepting it for me, along with my long time friend, journalist and fellow writer, Rosemary Borella. Both are important to me as companions, as fellow writers and sometimes, in the case of Adelaide, as the source of inspiration.
And of course, both are women to be reckoned with!
Again, my sincere thanks.
[hr][/hr]Original post can be found here.
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