The shortlist for the NSW Premiers Awards was announced today. Of course, the first place I went was to the Patricia Wrightson (children's) category and the Ethel Turner (YA) category. I had harboured some secret hope that Hunting Elephants might have popped up on one of those lists, but no cigar. Never mind - I had my turn last year, and with all the drama of the stolen laptop, the recovery of same and the subsequent death threats, I can probably do without the drama.
Of some consolation to not being on the list was seeing that a number of my good friends were, not least of all Tohby Riddle, with one book all of his own in the Wrightson category, and one that he illustrated for Ursula Dubosarsky on the same list. So yay for Tohby, and for Ursula. Shaun Tan makes an expected appearance for his wonderful Tales from Outer Suburbia, Sonya Hartnett is on the list with Ann James, as is Bob Graham, and Glenda Millard, with Stephen Michael King doing the illos for her book. My tip? My heart says Tohby, because he's a good mate (not to mention fellow cricket tragic) but the betting man would have piles of money on Shaun Tan.
The Ethel Turner is an interesting one this year. Di Bates is on there, with a book that will add to the newcomer Ford Street's impressive grab-bag of gong short-listings out of a fairly small number of titles. Congrats too to Joanne Horniman, Nette Hilton and Alison Goodman. DM Cornish has kicked a lot of goals with his Monster Blood Tattoo boks, of which this is the second, but I think my money is with Michelle Cooper for A Brief History of Montmoray, which was shortlisted for the Gold Inkys last year, and is by any measure quite, quite special.
As for the rest of the lists, there are too many books to list, but I think the bookies are about to close betting on Tim Winton picking up both the Christina Stead and the overall Book of the Year with Breath. Having said that, it's a powerhouse list, and you shouldn't rule out the Grenville/Garner quinella.
And it would be really great to see a book from a category other than the Adult Fiction list win the overall gong. Shaun Tan did it with The Arrival, and so did Samuel Wagan Watson with Smoke Encrypted Whispers. Can it happen again? Let's hope.
All of the shortlists can be seen here.