Some days everything falls in a heap, and that’s what happened to me yesterday. Plans went awry and I scrambled to get to the announcement of the ACT Writing and Publishing Awards. I arrived as they were announcing the last award. Massive fail. Most particularly because they had created a special award just for me. And I missed it.
Thanks to much hand waving and pointing by the likes of Penelope Cottier and Craig Cormick I was invited on stage to receive my award. Here’s a little of what was apparently said earlier (which I only read via email today): ‘In a one off, the Writers Centre has decided to present the Outstanding Service to Writing and Publishing in the ACT and Region Award to Irma Gold for her work with The Invisible Thread anthology…Irma has shined a light on the incredible literary scene that Canberra has had and still has today.’
What an incredible recognition of the last four years work. I feel so honoured that I am really at a loss for words. But it also doesn’t feel quite right accepting these awards (last month I was awarded a Canberra Critics Circle Award for The Invisible Thread) when there are so many others behind the scenes who have made the publication such a success. So I’d like to take this opportunity to name just a few of those who should share in this award.
Firstly, Anne-Maree Britton, Chair of the Advisory Committee and literary mover and shaker. Without Anne-Maree there would be no anthology. Together we dreamed up the idea, secured the funding, invited Halstead Press on board, and so on. Anne-Maree may have since left the ACT for a sunnier state but after 15 years as director of the ACT Writers Centre and Chair of the Thread committee her legacy is significant.
To the Advisory Committee — Maureen Bettle, Adrian Caesar, Alan Gould, Marion Halligan, Clare McHugh and Robert Phillips — who spent the better part of a year reading and reading and reading their way through the work of over 250 writers. At times I think we were all a little overwhelmed by the enormity of the task. And of course we had to make many tough decisions. I thank the committee for sharing their time and expertise so generously. Though we disagreed at times, we always agreed on one thing: there is a wealth of talent in the ACT and it deserves to be acknowledged on a national stage.
To the Centenary of Canberra team, most particularly Creative Director Robyn Archer, Julian Hobba and Bev Growden, for their support right from the start. And to the ACT Government who came to the party and made it all possible.
To all our sponsors: Maxeme and Roger at Paperchain Bookstore, the Molonglo Group and their brilliant Events Manager David Caffery, Greg Gould at Blemish Books for his work creating the ACT Writers Showcase website, and the National Year of Reading team.
To the ACT Writers Centre Board and staff, particularly Director Kelli-Anne Moore, who provided me with admin support (and much-needed moral support on many occasions).
To Judy Horacek for making the book so beautiful, and Halstead Press for publishing it.
To a fabulous filmmaking crew: Dylan Jones for producing the video interview series, James Hunter for a stunning book trailer, and Daniel Cahill for the charming animation of Judy Horacek’s Invisible Thread illustrations.
And finally, but most importantly, to all the writers who make the anthology what it is. It has been a pleasure to work with you.
These are only the main players — there are so many others who were involved in different capacities. You all know who you are. And I am grateful to each and every one of you.