Last night the annual NSW branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia held its presentation dinner for the Lady Cutler Award. This award is given to someone who has made an outstanding contribution to Australian children's literature. And the winner was the lady to the left, Susanne Gervay, who is not just a writer of wonderful books, but one of the most generous people in our little corner of the book world. She offers her hotel for a huge number of events, often free of charge, she mentors new authors, chairs and sits on a number of boards and committees, is very active within the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, the whole time keeping her finger on the pulse of the industry. She then passes on whatever information she gleans, without fear or favour. There is a huge number of authors and illustrators who love and respect Susanne, not only for what she offers them and their careers, but for the amazing enthusiasm she brings to everything she does, often with scant regard for her own health or well-being.
It was a lovely night at the Drummoyne Sports Club, with ninety CBCA people (including the current national president, Bronwen Bennett), authors, illustrators, the latest Frustrated Writers winners, and several previous Lady Cutler awardees. Glenda Millard was the after-dinner speaker, and she spoke with humour, warmth and eloquence.
Special posthumous recognition was also given to John Winch and Joyce Fardell, both of whom passed away earlier this year.
So warm congrats to Susanne - this gong is greatly deserved.