Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Blue swims into the Montana Finals

I am still trying to digest the news. But here it is. The Blue is shortlisted in the FICTION category of the Montana Book Awards. Not the Best First Book of Fiction but the category people like Maurice Gee and Lloyd Jones compete in.

My friend Penny rang with the news after she'd read the Dompost this morning and I thought she'd made a mistake. I got her to read it over. But no, there are no finalists for the Best First Book award this year, apparently. The Blue has swum into deeper waters. Here's the list.

Fiction: The Blue by Mary McCallum (Penguin Group NZ), Edwin & Matilda by Laurence Fearnley (Penguin Group NZ), Luminous by Alice Tawhai (Huia Publishers), Opportunity by Charlotte Grimshaw (Random House NZ).

Which is all rather daunting.

Bookman Beattie has the full list of finalists which includes Poetry, Biography and History, and he's already investigating why there are only four Fiction finalists as opposed to the usual five and why there is no First Book Award.

So, perplexing and daunting and wonderful.

Thanks to Maggie Rainey-Smith who has already posted a congratulatory comment on the previous post. And speaking of the previous post, Mum came through didn't she?

Link: The Dominion Post


Vanda Symon said...

Congratulations Mary, fantastic to see your name up there, and swimming in the big pool, not the learners pool.

Of course this means another big round of anxiety for you, waiting for the awards night...

Rachael King said...

I've already emailed you, but congratulations!

Vanda Symon said...

After reading a lot of the debate and discussion about the Montana judges only selecting four finalists for the best fiction award on Beattie's Book Blog, it is a huge compliment to the quality of your writing, and your abilities to have The Blue named as one of the four. Well done! What an audacious book.

Mary McCallum said...

Dear Vanda and Rachael -- thank you to you and everyone else who has sent me positive supportive wishes. The whole day has been rather surreal, really. Bizarre in fact.

There is a lot of noise elsewhere on the web, as you say Vanda, that is less than positive about the job the judges have done this year. I have to say I have enormous respect for all three of them: Tim Corballis, Lynn Freeman and David Elworthy, in their different capacities in the book world. I also have enormous respect for the three books I share the Fiction category with.

But yes, ok, a fifth book in the Fiction category wouldn't have hurt. There are a couple I thought would make the cut not least Susan Pearce's Acts of Love. It means so much to a writer in this small market to have the boost of a Montana shortlisting. I know. Only a week ago I noticed Whitcoulls wasn't stocking The Blue anymore, and now, I am told, they will re-order. Anyone in the business will know what this means.

It's all so complicated and strange. My husband is bringing home a bottle of champagne, so I might just turn off the computer and open the bubbles and toast my little blue book.


Kerre Woodham said...

Congratulations, Mary! What a magnificent achievement! I'm taking The Blue with me when my daughter and I travel to New York later this month - we have a small suitcase full of books that we have sacrificed clothes for! Thank God Kate is a reader! I shall send a photo of The Blue in the Big Apple. Your boys must be so proud of you! Congratulations once again. x

pjkm said...

Congratulations, Mary - very well-deserved.

Tim Jones said...

And my congratulations as well.


Mary McCallum said...

Thanks Paula and Tim and Kerre and Maggie and brother Andy (see prevous post), and all the many others who've emailed and called re. the Montana shortlisting.

My Mum is still battling with the blogosphere to try and leave a comment here. She claims there is one out there in cyber-space, unmoored, drifting, trying to land ...

A piccy of The Blue in the Big Apple would be fabulous, Kerre. Good on you taking books instead of pesky clothes, and I'm pleased Kate is a reader. I know girls her age who've read TB and enjoyed it.

If you want to know some good off-the-beaten-track bookshops over in NY Bookman Beattie has described one or two in his blog I remember.

Lucky you. Have fun.