How do you scoop up thankfulness and describe it in words?
That was the question I asked my friends on Facebook recently after Out of the Cages was named Winner in the Young Adult Category of the 2019 CALEB Prize.
Thankfulness is a difficult thing to put into words. It's gratitude and honour and indebtedness all rolled in together.
When I heard my novel had been shortlisted alongside novels by Cecily Anne Paterson (for Being Jazmine) and Rosanne Hawke (for Finding Kerra) I felt incredibly privileged. Both of these authors are writers I highly respect, and their books often tackle important issues. They have also been two people who have, at different times and in different ways, contributed to my own writing journey.
This book also owes a great deal to the courage and commitment of the publishing team at Rhiza Edge. And I cannot forget the ongoing, never ceasing, encouragement and support received by my family and friends.
There have been SO many people without whom this book would never have existed.
I'm thrilled Out of the Cages has been recognised in this way. Honoured to have received this award amid such company and on behalf of everyone who have stood behind this story all this time. But mostly I'm just thankful.
Scoops and scoops of thankful that is hard to put into words.
And the sprinkles on top?
Well, that was Out of the Cages receiving the award for YA Fiction on the same evening that Lily's Balloon, a BEAUTIFUL picture book by good friend and fellow children's book writer Katrina Roe, won the Children's Picture Book Category!