If you’re reading this from Australia, you might have come across the news that the ANZ LitLovers blog is one of five finalists in the 2012 Best Australian Blogs competition in the ‘Words’ category. (It was also reported in The Australian). The competition is run annually by the Sydney Writers Centre, and Angela Meyer, who blogs at Literary Minded is the judge for the Words category.
The other four finalists are
- Just Add Story by Wade Bowmer;
- Kill Your Darlings edited by Estelle Tang;
- PublishEd Adelaide by Katy McDevitt; and
- The Book Post by Tara Moss.
It’s taken me a day to get over my astonishment at being included in company with bloggers like these, but now it’s time to thank others who have helped this blog to make the finals. I don’t really know what criteria they’ve used, but what follows is what I think has made this blog one of the most rewarding things I do:
First and foremost, I want to thank Australian authors and publishers who produce some of the finest literary fiction in the world and make it easy to write reviews for this blog. Your work provides the content for ANZ LitLovers. It wouldn’t exist without you. It was Roger McDonald at the Miles Franklin literary award dinner last year who christened me ‘Ambassador for Australian Literature’ and I am proud to wear the tag.
Next, I want to thank my guest bloggers, Dr Lurline Stuart, Sally Cripps, Helen Rutten and especially ♥ Karenlee Thompson ♥ whose reviews of short stories and memoir have filled what would otherwise be a gap on the blog. These contributions round out the blog with other voices and add expertise in areas I don’t have, and I consider it a privilege to share this little bit of cyberspace with writers like these.
A blog is only as good as the readers who visit it, and so I want to thank every single one of you who takes the time to ‘like’ a post, to subscribe to the blog, follow it, link to a post, or add it to a blogroll. As anyone who blogs knows, these affirmations are tremendously encouraging. I especially want to thank all the people who comment because these interactions contribute to conversation flowing around the blog and that makes it more interesting for people to read. I love chatting away with people who visit regularly, and I want to give special thanks to Sue from Whispering Gums, Stu from Winston’s Dad, Kim from Reading Matters, Karenlee Thompson, Tony from Tony’s Reading List, Tom from A Common Reader, Kevin from Canada, and Mark from Eleutherophobia. These people are my Top Commenters, and if you have a WordPress blog you will know that there are stats to prove it!
I must also thank Kevin from Canada for encouraging me to host the Shadow Man Asian Literary Prize, and my fellow jurors for contributing to it: Sue from Whispering Gums, Stu from Winston’s Dad, Matt from A Novel Approach, Mark from Eleutherophobia, and Fay from Read, Ramble. It’s been exciting to play a role in promoting literature from Asia through this new prize, but I couldn’t have coordinated it without Kevin’s wise counsel behind the scenes.
I also want to thank Stu for inviting me to participate in the Shadow Indepedendent Foreign Fiction Prize Team comprising Mark from Eleutherophobia, Stu from Winston’s Dad, Rob from Rob Around Books, Simon from Inside Books, Gary from The Parrish Lantern, Tony from Tony’s Reading List and me. Reading the best of translated fiction in this way helps me to write my reviews of Australian literature in the context of world literature, not just our own special niche, and it’s broadened my horizons.
Then there are the authors who contribute to one of my most popular features, Meet an Aussie Author. Everybody loves to read about the wonderful people who write the books we love, but the series depends entirely on the generosity of busy writers giving up their time to participate.
Thanks also go to the publicists who’ve initiated Meet an Aussie Author contacts for me, and who send me lovely books to review. It’s not easy for them, I’m very choosy about what I’ll read! I’m especially grateful to the publishers who’ve introduced me to some fine authors for the Debut Aussie Fiction category.
And last but not least, thank you to my dear friend Jenny, who nominated me!
The winners will be announced on Thursday 10 May 2012. You can follow the news with the official Twitter hashtag #bestblogs2012, and . and the Sydney Writers’ Centre at @SydneyWriters for the latest announcements.