Queensland Literary Awards
It was a mind-blowing honor recently to receive the Queensland Premier’s Young Publishers and Writers Award alongside co-winner Mindy Gill.
In my speech, I made special mention of my mother, who raised me to be a reader and writer. I’ve posted that part of the speech below:
The one person I can’t leave unmentioned tonight is my mother. Mum is the reason that I’m a writer. Her love of language didn’t have a conventional genesis. She was the eldest daughter of a disabled war veteran. She was raised in council housing. Despite being a straight-A student, she was forced to leave school at fourteen to support her family.
So this bright high-school dropout from country Victoria earned the minimum wage at Big W while burning through a book a day from the local library. Reading was cheap entertainment. She started filling exercise pads with poetry and aphorisms and hypothetical letters to the editor. Those words became no less serious than life itself.
Decades later, when she had a burgeoning family and vastly higher purchasing power, still nothing made her feel more at peace than reading or writing a sentence that made perfect sense. I grew up hearing her read other people’s perfect sentences to me. I watched her write down arguments instead of shouting them. And slowly but certainly I was converted to a life of reading and writing the same way that she had been.
Which was unlikely. I came from an extremely macho culture. Men were allergic to sensitivity. Literature has given me the imagination to engage with the world in a more vivid and vulnerable way. For that, I can largely thank my mother.