Tuesday, March 07, 2006
I went to the CBC Clayton's award last night. It's always a good night - a qurky, oddly Australian idea of an award's night. Mike Shuttleworth was provocative and entertaining. I didn't agree with all he said (although I agreed with his comments about The Black Dress being a fine read) but It did make me sit up and listen. I think one of our problems in children's books is that we like to sit around agree with each other too much. One of his points was his disappointment that the older readers section wasn't a YA section. The various premier's award are either de facto or de jure pretty much YA awards so YA books actually get pretty good "award" coverage. It's the chapter book area, the post-picture book and pre-YA section as well as poor old non-fiction that dip out in terms of critical recognition. We've come along way from Redmond Barry refusing to let fiction into his library. Non-fiction didn't get guernsay at the Claytons, and it's all crammed into one section in the awards. While on the topic of the awards I'd also like to see more encouragement to new writers and illustrators - good on the Victoria CBC for having the Crichton Award. I'm just disappointed it doesn't have as a high a profile as the other awards. Maybe it should be the one we really celebrate. Maybe one for new writers as well? All in all, though, the CBC does a fabulous job of promoting children's books.