The Muriel Barwell Award

August 21st, 2010 | Category: News

I had a telephone conversation with Jan Nicholls, President of the Children’s Book Council a couple of weeks ago. I’m at a school with 2 minutes to spare before a couple of classes are due to arrive.  Jan asks, “Can you come to the Bookweek dinner?” I probably sounded a bit stroppy, “Jan, my flight from Sydney gets in too late, surely I told you this already.” Then Jan says, “Can you change your tickets?” Now me even stroppier, “Jan, there’s going to be a huge change fee.” Jan, “I think you should be at the dinner, you’ve won an award.” I’m thinking I can’t have, I don’t have book in this year. Jan then tells me I’ve won The Muriel Barwell Award for Distinguished Service to Children’s Literature, but then again, I can’t have, I’ve nominated someone else for this. Surely…then it sinks in, I’m overwhelmed with emotion tearing up in front of 60 year 3s and 4s who have meanwhile piled in.

Last night I flew in from Sydney and accepted my award with pride.

The Muriel Barwell Award

Like so many of my peers, we all donate a huge amount of our time behind the scenes helping others without ever expecting to receive an award for doing what we love. When I arrived in West Australia twenty years ago I didn’t know a sole, the Children’s Book Council invited me to speak at a meeting. That welcome and acknowledgement meant soooo much to me. Without their constant support I don’t think we creators would have the confidence to do what we do. They tirelessly promote the books of writers and illustrators, come to many of our book launches and are always the first to congratulate us when we succeed.

I’m involved with children’s literature because I’m passionate about children’s books, children reading writing and helping emerging and established book creators. I get the same satisfaction as if it was happening for myself at seeing one of our authors/illustrators getting published for the very first time. Or having one of my colleagues receive an accolade or offered a contract.

Most of my time is spent visiting schools under the CBC or FCLC umbrella and being the IA for the SCBWI and serving on the COM of the ASA, or lately my IBBY upcoming visit to Korea. You have to stop and think – poor MG might not be getting enough TLC. I thank Mark for having patience with my passions.

I accept this award on behalf all our West Australian emerging and published children’s book creators. I hope to continue to assist, give my energy and support you in all your endeavors and in the meantime, I will cherish this award.

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