Thursday, 14 April 2011
Are the books which
receive accolades from the Children's Book Council of Australia from a small gene pool? It is an interesting question. I had never thought of it that way until someone left a comment to that effect yesterday. Then I realised that some writers do appear not once, but many times. They may not win on each occasion but they appear in the Highly Commended and Commended. The change comes gradually over the years. Brinsmead, Spence, Chauncy, Wrightson, Southall and Thiele all appear more than once. Occasionally there will be an interloper such as Manley's "The Plum Rain Scroll". The above mentioned authors though were all part of the great surge of literature for children in the 60's and 70's. They still appear in the 80's although there are some new authors such as Gillian Rubinstein, Robin Klein and Victor Kelleher. In the 90's we suddenly have Isobelle Carmody, Gary Crew, Melina Marchetta, Emily Rodda, Sonya Hartnett and Catherine Jinks. Some of these continue into this century although the awards are now organised in a slightly different way. If an author appears once on the list however there is a good chance they will appear again. I am not sure what this suggests. Is it really because there is only a limited gene pool? I doubt that. Is it because publishers tend to go with authors they already know? There may be something in that. Is it because some writers appeal more than others to those responsible for selectiion? Do personalities come into it? No doubt they do -and probably always will. Award selection has to be subjective. There must be other good books out there that simply do not get selected, that slip by unnoticed. I suspect some get lost altogether.