. . . . . . . . not me!
This isn’t the first time I’ve been this close to publication, and it most likely won’t be the last (although I hope it’ll be the last time I get this close and don’t get published). Text Publishing was kind enough to tell the shortlisted entrants the final result well before the party last night, and I decided to attend anyway.
I arrived in Melbourne as the sun set. . .
. . . and left the following morning.
The party happened at the Carlton Hotel (which, sidebar, is not a hotel – as I discovered the day after I thought I’d booked a room there. By sheer good luck, my ACTUAL hotel – Rydges on Exhibition Street – was a five minute walk away). The function room was up many many stairs, and reminded me uncannily of a Russian brothel I once stumbled into while holidaying in Beijing (true story). The walls were mirrored, but the mirrors were almost obscured by masses of floor-to-ceiling pink leopard spots. A few feature walls were coated liberally in extremely dusty plastic plants of the wide-leaved tropical variety – which were also jammed into nooks and crannies around doorways and among ceiling paraphernalia. Oh, and there was a life-size model of an elephant’s head attached to one wall. Because why not? It all felt rather trippy and imaginary.
I met a LOT of authors, most (or possibly all) of the Text publishing staff, lots of teachers or people who work in the reading biz, and a married couple who own a large chain of bookstores (which, incidentally, are doing very well thanks very much). I had a suspicion going in that Text Publishing as a whole might be a little too literary for my books – people do tend to be either into literary work or into genre work, which I find peculiar. Unfortunately that turned out to be very true: although they’re open to fantasy and have certainly published some, not a single person on staff really loves fantasy. I spent quite a bit of time talking to “the fantasy person” – who actually flinched when I said the phrase “fantasy geek”. She gave me some really excellent editorial comments which could easily take six months to fix (the good kind of “Arg!” in my world).
I do happen to have one rather experimental non-fantasy book that I think would be perfect for Text, so I’ll be sending that off to them within days. I also took advantage of the moment to ask for a job – but they do everything (including slush reading and gallery proofing) in-house and on actual physical paper. So that’s a shame.
And then, as the party began to wind down and I realised I’d met everyone in the room except for two people. . . I met Andy Griffiths. Yes, that Andy Griffiths. Very cool!
I’m home again now, blurry with excitement and sleeplessness, and very pleased to be seeing these blue eyes again after a twenty-four hour gap.
I’m too tired to post the usual month of Louisette photos today – I’ll do that tomorrow.
I also had a great time talking to last year’s Text Prize winner Myke Bartlett, and having him sign an advance copy of his book for me. I’ll be reviewing it here on Friday next week.