Tonight I’m away from Queensland. I’m in the UK travelling for the Rugby World Cup. When I woke up to the news that I was a category winner for the Queensland Literay Awards I was in Wales. Ten hours later, our Wallabies beat Fiji 28-13.
It’s not all rugby while I travel. Between games, I’m on deadline for commissioned fiction, I’m reading British authors and writing about home.
Being away from Qld and winning an award that means so much to me, and to my writing career is difficult so I’m grateful to Ellen van Neerven, one of Queensland’s great literary voices, who agreed to accept on my behalf and read this note for me (even the sentences that force her to speak about herself in the third person).
My thanks to the Qld Literary Awards who have given rise to so many Qld voices over their resilient history.
Thank you to Premier Palaszczuk, the State Library and State Librarian Janette Wright, and the judges of the Qld Premier’s Young Publishers and Writers Award who saw something worthwhile in my history and my future.
Thanks to the State of Qld, to our mighty literary organisations who continue to encourage, advocate and inspire our young and enduring storytellers. My ongoing thanks to Qld Writers Centre, Brisbane Writers Festival, GriffithREVIEW, Tiny Owl Workshop and Avid Reader who have all played a part in my career so far.
A very special thanks to my hometown of North Stradbroke Island, who, along with books and the Pacific Ocean, practically raised me. Thanks to my family and friends who’ve allowed me to walk the path of an artist even though that road has never been straightforward, short, or easy.
Lastly, I’d like to thank the writers of Qld who continue to make this game so damn competitive. To my fellow category winner, and to everyone on the shortlist for this award, and all the awards tonight.
I’ve always believed that books can transport us. Though physically, right now, I’m driving north toward Scotland (probably looking for free Wifi) my heart is with you here, in Qld. In this way, writing not only transports us, it can also bring us home.