Congratulations to Cassandra Golds, winner of the 2013 Nance Donkin Award for an outstanding woman author in Australia who writes books for children. The award is presented biennially by the Society of Women Writers Victoria and was last presented to Isobelle Carmody.
We are delighted to be able to share with you Cassandra’s lovely acceptance speech below, with her kind permission.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am tremendously pleased to accept the Biennial Nance Donkin Memorial Award for 2013. I would like to express my gratitude to The Society of Women Writers Victoria for nominating me and I would particularly like to thank
the judge, Robyn Burns, for selecting me as this year’s recipient. It provides me with an opportunity to acknowledge the important role that librarians like Robyn have played in the rise of Australian children’s literature. I will never
forget my own wonderful primary school librarian and the sheer magic of the first libraries I stepped inside. I think I can speak for all writers when I say THANK YOU for your hard work and dedication to our books and their readers!
It is an honour to receive an award named for Nance Donkin.
Australian children’s literature is filled with fairy godmothers, and she is surely one of them. My own writing career stretches back to the early eighties, when I was fortunate enough to have a novel accepted, while I was still
a teenager, by my first fairy godmother, Jennifer Rowe (aka Emily Rodda). My second fairy godmother, Patricia Wrightson, presided in spirit over my career at The New South Wales School Magazine, where she had reigned as editor during my childhood; my third fairy
godmother, Anna Fienberg, was editor IN THE FLESH during my time there and my fourth fairy godmother, Laura Harris, is now my publisher at Penguin!
Publishing a novel might have seemed impossible for all of us, something only for English or American writers, had it not been for authors like Nance Donkin. I often reflect on how difficult it must have been for a writer, a woman writer
in particular, to convince a publisher that there was a market for a book about a female convict at a time when most writers were headed for London on the first ship out of Circular Quay. I think we needed writers like Nance Donkin to show us how to write about Australia so that later, Australian children’s authors such as Isobelle Carmody could write, with true confidence, about anything! This is an exciting time for Australian literature and so it is fitting that an award such as this one is named for one of the true pioneers in the field.
My only regret is that I am not able to be here today to
accept such a beautiful award in person. I have only recently moved to Victoria and your award makes me feel as though I have been truly welcomed to this lovely state and this wonderful city. Thank you.
You can read more about Cassandra Golds and find her books HERE