What a tremendous thrill to hear I was joint-winner of the Todhunter Literary Award with my story Middle-man. I’ve been long-listed, shortlisted and runner-up for both my novel and short stories, but this is the first time I’ve made an equal writing first. How bright is the sun today.
The Todhunter is one of Australia’s major writing awards – and extraordinarily well rewarded in the rather tragic current climate of writing remuneration.* It was founded in 1994 by Victoria Park Public Library, trustees David Crann and Ross Kendall and established to honour the service of William Todhunter to the cultural life of the working class suburb of Vic Park. Somewhat ironically – sadly, too – although he established the first Seniors Centre, the first school tuck-shop and ran a band there, Todhunter was a man not recognised by his own town of Victoria Park.
The topic for 2013 was Isolated and Stoic. This was the first time I’d entered the Todhunter and my story was based on an anecdote told to me by a good friend. This is an excerpt from the award judge Dr Susan Midalia’s report on my story:
The key to this story is its emotional restraint and understatement, reminiscent of the “quiet” but deeply moving stories of Anton Chekhov. No word or detail is wasted; and in its combination of economy and depth, brevity and resonance, “Middle-man” reminds us that nothing, and no one, is ordinary. Indeed, as Bill’s sense of new beginnings suggests, the story also reminds us that simply being alive is the most extraordinary gift of all.
I swear that after I read that, I grew wings. My thanks to Susan and all concerned. And congratulations to equal-first Declan Fry also of WA – and to Jennie Herrera of Tassie and Johanna Majzner.
Closing date for next year’s Todhunter is 1 August 2014 and the topic The Mystery of Ordinariness.
Good luck everyone. I’ll see you there!
* However, I have to say that I feel for publishers and literary agents, too. See my next blog on writing commercial.
Meanwhile — from Isaac Asimov: “You must keep sending work out. You send that work out again and again, while you’re working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success — but only if you persist.” Sound familiar?