Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Still reeling after a wonderful night at the Montana Awards. What a fantastic night. All bells and whistles, glitter and glamour, authors and booksellers, publishers and journalists.

Since posting earlier I've found a piccy of the glittery plunging thing I wore (it was on the Booksellers website with all the other photos) but you can't really see the glitter here, which is a shame. I am standing with the NZSA's Paul Smith after collecting the NZSA Hubert Church Best First Book of Fiction which Rachael King won last year for The Sound of Butterflies.

An exciting moment. I felt outrageously happy and proud. And then, while I was admiring my gift bottle of Montana wine and about to open the envelope to look at the lovely cheque, they announced the Readers Choice Award.... and, dear readers, it was The Blue. I gaped, my husband gulped his wine, my publisher swallowed his fork.

As-ton-ish-ing. A-maz-ing. W-on-der-ful.

Thank you to all the people who voted. Thank you to all my readers especially the ones who took a punt on The Blue in the early days when it was an unknown quantity.
Thank you to the readers who grab my arm outside the greengrocers and say 'I'm half way through and I love the bit where you desribe the gulls like washing', the ones who buy book after book for presents for their friends, the ones at the libraries who ask me if I think Micky's okay now, the ones who say they know the place I've written about that's how it is.

In the end this novel-writing thing is all about the book and the reader and the solitary act of reading.

Thank you to Montana and Booksellers for the Readers Choice Award and for the most wonderful evening. And to NZSA and Hubert Church for the Best First Book Award.

Congratulations to Charlotte Grimshaw for winning the Fiction and Poetry gong for Opportunity which is a startling collection of stories that verges on the genius, and to Laurence Fearnley who was a deserved fiction runnerup. Congrats too to Janet Hunt for Wetlands which won the Non-Fiction medal. And to all the rest.

More on the awards at Beattie's bookblog. And elsewhere no doubt.


Vanda Symon said...

Congratulations Mary!

To have critical acclaim and an adoring public is fantastic.

What an audacious book!

Mary McCallum said...

Thanks Vanda! Actually, I met a few Dunedin writers/people in the book world last night who had some very nice things to say about you and your blog and the work you do on the radio. So well done, you, too.

Gondal-girl said...

Congratulations Mary - it must be a nice hug from the universe...heres to more good things coming your way

Anonymous said...

A big congratulations Mary. It was thrilling to hear it on RNZ this morning (by coincidence the reporter was my daughter Amanda). I remember working with you at RNZ way-back-when. You were a bright spark even then. Keep it up.

Cathy Strong
(lecture in journalism at Massey)

Mary McCallum said...

Thanks Gondal-Girl, yes, a nice hug from the universe. In fact at one point I recall being in a group hug with writer Fiona Kidman and my editor Jane Parkin and publisher Geoff Walker -- all of them pink-cheeked and excited for me (and I think a bit nonplussed like I was re. the Readers Choice win.) It was one of those sort of nights.

And Cathy Strong! Amazing that your daughter should interview me! She was very sweet and very capable. Reminded me of me when I was racing off to cover author events and not sure who was who and who had written what. Solution: keep asking questions, tactfully and kindly.

And we both work for Massey now you and I. Lovely to hear from you.

Helen Rickerby said...

Congratulations Mary, you must be so pleased to not only get the Best First Book award, but the Readers' Choice as well!

harvey molloy said...

Congratulations Mary (& The Blue will soon be on the shelf at the school library).


Mary McCallum said...

Thanks Harvey. Great news it is going on the library shelf at your school!

Mark said...

Congratulations Mary! :-) Mark P (Taj Mahal) in Sydney

Mary McCallum said...

Thanks Mark!