2014 was a huge year of travel and assignments with the highlight being winning an award for Permanent Impressions: A Salute to Contemporary Heroines. Not to mention the thrill of receiving the award in New York City. Most of you already know about my obsession with New York. I’m a writer without the appropriate words to describe its frenetic pace, inspiring urban landscape and coolness. As I write this, I know it’s struggling through another brutal winter it’s not designed to handle. I’m well aware the living conditions are expensive and difficult in comparison to WA’s laid-back lifestyle. No wonder New Yorkers have a tough reputation. Despite all this, I’m a goner; my love is unconditional.
The awards night was everything I could have hoped for and a humbling experience to be one of the winners out of 5,500 entries from around the globe. We won Bronze in the Best Regional Non-fiction category for the 2014 Independent Publisher Book Awards, aka the IPPYs. When I say we, it was a group effort and I’m incredibly fortunate to work with talented individuals like artist Jana Vosedil who created the concept and painted the portraits of 50 of WA’s most influential women. It couldn’t have been done without Carina Hoang and her publishing company Carina Hoang Publications; who incidentally is also a 2012 IPPY winner for her book Boat People.
Carina was also the voice on the other end of the phone in the wee hours of morning as I plugged away at what seemed an unachievable deadline of completing the 50 biographies in just three months. “We’re going to New York with this,” she assured me with what I thought was an overly optimistic declaration to get me through the nights while also undergoing a major renovation. As walls came down and my house was over-run with tradies, including a man who seemed to live on a scaffold for a week in my lounge room while installing an intricate skylight, I created a bubble of dust in which I worked. How foolish of me to underestimate Carina’s determination and no wonder she was also one of the 50 women who without their courage, tenacity and inspiration, there wouldn’t have been any stories to tell or portraits to paint.
The rest of the year was hectic and took me to Sri Lanka, the Great Southern Region of Western Australia, Melbourne, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Far Northern Queensland, the Peel region (twice, once with Mandurah Houseboats), Pickering Brook, aboard the Astor cruise ship in Fremantle (also twice), all over town reviewing places and events for the Perth Winter Arts Season 2014 and a multitude of local articles and an intriguing assignment which took me to the outback town of Wagin.
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