When you start writing a book, you are inclined to go off into daydreams. Of the winning the Nobel Prize for Literature/topping the bestseller list for fourteen weeks running/lots of people you admire telling you how wonderful your book is sort of daydream. Yes, it’s silly, but sometimes you need a little motivation when you’re twenty thousand words from the end and you still don’t have a chapter five.
Anyway. Winning the Luchs des Jahres was a little bit like that.
Only in German.
The Luchs Prize 200 8s a fabulous book award, presented by the German newspaper Die Ziet for the best children’s book published in 2008 in Germany. The presentation ceremony was held in the Literaturhaus in Hamburg, which in Britain would have been somewhere chirpy and modern, with a bookshop and a cafe, but in Germany turned out to contain, amongst other things, a ballroom and a restaurant with ornate twiddly bits on the wall. Several people gave speeches, which I hope were about how wonderful Ways to Live Forever was. It was rather hard to tell, because they were in German, and I took French at school. My name certainly got mentioned a lot, and every so often everyone would burst out laughing, although my lovely translator assured me that none of the jokes were offensive.
The prize was shared by my aforementioned German translator, and we both had to read from the book. I’d been assured that the audience would know enough English to get it, and they did seem to laugh in the right places. I was then presented with a cheque, which I had to give back because it was in Euros, and I gave another speech in the wrong language.
To add to the randomness, I discovered that the shortlist included a German translation of The Jungle Book, which means I apparently beat Kipling and one of the finest children’s books ever written. I also got the stay in the hotel where the Literaturhaus puts all its authors – you could tell who’d stayed there by the signed books in the foyer, and I spent a happy few days wondering if I’d slept in the same bed as Margaret Atwood (who I did study at school) or possibly Vikram Seth.
All very bizarre, but rather wonderful.
In other news, it is now March, which means Season of Secrets is due out next month, in all its shiny, sparkly glory (hurrah!) And work on Book Three (working title Tell Me The Truth About Love) is progressing well – I’ve almost hit the 45,000 word mark, and am looking forward to having a first draft I can agonise over.
A very happy World Book Day to you all for Thursday,