Monday, September 6, 2010

Victorian Premier's Literary Awards 2010 shortlists are announced!

And the books shortlisted for the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards YA Prize are:

Phew. I don't have to keep my mouth shut any more! Except about the winner, of course, but that's easier somehow. It's just a cosy little one-book secret, rather than a big rambling three-book secret. I think my secret limit is two books.

Big congratulations to all the shortlisted authors - I'm extremely proud and excited about our shortlist. And also congrats to the authors we longlisted: Kirsty Murray for Vulture's Gate, Richard Harland for Worldshaker and Bill Condon for Confessions of a Liar, Thief and Failed Sex God. You can read the judges' reports here.

Judging this year was a completely different experience to the 2007 VPLA - which makes sense I suppose, given that you have a completely different set of entries for the year, and a completely different set of judges. (Except me. I am not completely different.) One important difference was that we didn't have to write a judge bio for the website, or provide a photo. Which absolved me from the photo-choosing despair that I encountered last time! I was going to go with this one, in case you're interested:

Myself and my fellow judges (Pam Macintyre from Viewpoint Magazine and Leesa Lambert from The Little Bookroom) used the same judging process as the last time I was a judge - once the entries were received we all squirrelled ourselves away and read like the blazes, and we each created our own personal longlists for our next meeting. We kept our longlists a secret from each other until the meeting, to see if there would be any overlap.

In 2008, when I judged the award with lovely authors Kirsty Murray and Simmone Howell, our initial personal longlists had very little overlap, which I found fascinating. So there was lots of re-reading and re-evaluating done after our initial read-through. Our final shortlist and winner were arrived at through a lot of analysis, a lot of brain-wracking, a few more meetings, and a bit of voting.

I expected pretty much the same turn of events this year - when you give three different people a pile of 75 different books and ask them to pick the best ones, you'd assume you'd get some different answers.

So Pam and I turned up at the Little Bookroom on Longlist Meeting Day with our little piles of novels hidden in our bags.

I produced my longlist first. Then Pam produced hers. Then Leesa pulled out hers.

Each of our 4-book longlists overlapped by at least 3 books. Wow.

"So," Pam said, "Which one do we think is the winner?"

And we all held up the same book.

Then we kind of got the giggles, because it was so unexpected, and so exciting! We were unanimous before we'd even opened our mouths!

Narrowing down the rest of the shortlist took a bit longer - a bit of re-reading and discussing and voting, but given that we already had a three-book overlap in our longlists it didn't take too long.

So: a different year, a different set of entries and judges, a completely different judging experience. Last time I was pregnant, this time I have an 18mth old. Both years it has been exciting, confusing, and brain-tearingly full on. So has the judging.

I can't imagine what will happen if I judge this award again in the future. Probably I'll just have given birth to triplets, we judges will have a shortlist of twenty books that we CANNOT cut down any further, our heads will explode and someone else will have to judge the award for us.

Oh, and did I forget to tell you this year's winner? How terribly remiss of me.


Laura said...

Crazy stuff! You all held up the same book? Are you still going to tell all the shortlisted authors that it was a really hard decision?

Anna said...

Oh yes. We will tell all the shortlisted authors who don't read my blog.

Nomes said...

Wow - I cant wait to hear who the winner is. I'm torn myself -I loved all three. I think Swerve was brilliant but Raw Blue and Beatle Meets Destiny are two of my favourite reads this year. So, not sure which way I want it to go between them. I'm holding my breath for them both.

Raw Blue really resonated with me - so powerful and impacting.

And Beatle Meets Destiny is an instant cult classic for me. something truly magical about that book. Love it to death.

Anna said...

I think it's such a strong list too! It was a bumper year, really.

I'll be tweeting the winner on 28th Sept the very second it is announced! You can find me @annaryanpunch.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna
Ignore this if my previous comment
suddenly appears - couldn't find it so I'm trying again.

Thank you and your fellow judges for all your hard work re the Vic Premier's Award. I was surprised and very happy to get a mention with my book Confessions of Liar.

Congratulations to the three finalists, and best of luck.

Anna said...

Cheers Bill - Confessions is a great book, it's wonderful to see it getting recognition in the awards this year.