A nice surprise!

July 21, 2014

I just heard that I have been awarded second prize in the Hector the Lump of Coal Picture Book Competition. I wrote a story in verse called ‘Hector and the Bully’.

Such a pleasure to rhyme and to have a narrative, and a group of characters, I must say. It was a very different type of poetry from that which I usually write, which tends to be free verse.  I tried to make the poem quite easy to read, particularly aloud, while avoiding overly clunky rhymes.  (It is about a lump of coal, though, which is a fairly solid addition to any poem.)

I wanted to raise the issue of bullying without making the work too confronting for a potential audience of young readers (some of whom might have the story read to them by parents, should it be published).

Hector became more like a real presence to me as the piece progressed, as those close to me noticed. What started purely as a bit of fun became a tad more serious. Hector began popping up in the conversation all the time.  I began imagining him in all sorts of scenarios.  As is usual with me, I became a little obsessed.  First time it’s happened with a coal-shaped mascot, though!

To say that I am surprised to win a prize is actually an understatement, given that this was so far from what I usually do.  Although I have secretly been working on a different children’s book, it must be said…Here I am dreaming of publication.

This current award does not necessarily mean publication of the story, by the way. It is a cash prize.

Thank you to the organisers, DBCT Pty Ltd. I only wish I could meet Hector some time.

I had a poem prepared for today, but this most unexpected news intervened.

2 Responses to “A nice surprise!”

  1. Kathleen Kituai said

    Congratulations Penelope,

    I love the unexpected moment. How timely this poem is. However I remember Kathy yates in primary as probably a relative of Hector’s.

    Best thoughts,’kathy

  2. pscottier said

    Thanks Kathy.

    I am not sure if this Kathy Yates of whom you speak is a previous incarnation of your good self, or another mascot.

    Hope to see you soon.

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