Thursday 24 January 2013

We won the 2012 M.E.R. Award!

Marjorie van Heerden, Michelle Cooper, Dan Sleigh, SA Partridge, SJ Naude, Michiel Heyns and Anton Harber


A highlight for me last year was in June, when author Alex D’Angelo and I won the M.E.R. Award (one of the Media24 Books Literary Awards) for the best illustrated children’s book published in South African during the previous year (2011) – we won the award for Goblin Diaries: Apprenticed to the Red Witch, published by Tafelberg Publishers (SA). This was the second time I have had the honour to be awarded this prestigious award, the first time was in 2008 when it went to Wendy Hartmann (as author) and me (as illustrator) for Nina and Little Duck, published in 2007 by Human & Rousseau (SA).

I was completely shocked and, of course, speechless.  As a result, my thank you speech was: "Thank you!"

So here is the speech I should have made that night, the people I should have said that "thank you" to:

To my husband, Johann: Thank you for your love and encouragement. And your help. Without you I would not have had the guts to become a writer and an illustrator. And to continue creating book after book  for more than three decades.

To Alida Potgieter, the editor who gave me my very first illustrating job, and who also became my friend: Thank you for believing in me and launching me on such a wonderful journey. 

To Alex d'Angelo, for writing this exciting, imaginative story. I really enjoyed illustrating it.

To Michelle Cooper, for asking me to illustrate Alex's manuscript. Thank you.

To the Media24 Literary Awards committee and the judges: Thank you so much for your appreciation and for honouring me (a second time!) with this award - It is really a very special honour. I am passionate about my work. But we writers and illustrators mostly work in isolation. And while working long, solitary hours to try and create something magical for the children, one becomes so involved and so focused that, eventually, you have a problem really judging your own work. So, to receive an award such as this, to publicly receive such recognition from specialists such as yourselves, means a lot. It really does. Thank you so much.