I had the huge honour of receiving a nomination for the Ottawa Book Awards.
It was a wonderful evening and I really didn’t expect to win (and didn’t).
The winner of the evening in my category was Kagiso Lesego Molope’s This Book Betrays My Brother. Her reaction was so perfectly authentic and, despite not having prepared, her speech was the best of the evening (among many good ones!). In it, she said that being an immigrant, this award was like a “welcome.”
It really showed me how important awards like these are in ways well beyond the recognition of fine work.
Although I didn’t expect to win, I am aware that lightning does sometimes strike, so I’d prepared a bit of a thank you. I’d like to share some of it here.
“This is a subjective business. There’s a tendency to believe the poor reviews and ignore the good. And there are times when a writer will even hate their own work. There’s a name for this–imposter syndrome. And it’s something impossible to avoid especially as a primarily self published author. So to have the applause of my peers is something I hold in the highest esteem and cannot and will not ignore. If this book is about learning how to look inward for meaning instead of out, then this is a lesson you all have helped me learn. And, yes, I see the irony in that.”
It strikes me that maybe we’re all looking for a “welcome.” I thank the Ottawa Book Awards and the members of the jury for my welcome too.
P.S. In my defense of the picture, the photographer asked us to look up to the side, so … that’s what I did!