What a wonderful trip to the Maritimes I had last week. I flew into Bathurst, New Brunswick, on the 6th to begin my Hackmatack Author Tour. I spoke with students in elementary schools along the Miramichi (returning to my birthplace of Newcastle) on the 7th and 8th, then met up with fellow Hackmatack nominees Freida Wishinsky and Peter McMahon for the drive to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and a bit of schmoozing on the 9th.
During the tour, I met many dedicated teachers and librarians who’d been running Hackmatack Book Clubs in their home towns and who drove me from one stop to the next and made the trip a stress-free one. (Thanks to Dayna, Joy, Bonnie, Gail, Nancy, and Joanne for helping me find my way. And a huge thanks to Kate Watson for uber-organizing the week.)
The Hackmatack Award ceremony was held at Pier 21 in Halifax on the morning of the 10th, when all nominated authors in attendance got to meet boys and girls who’d read and loved their books. (That was fun – I even met some girls who told me they and their friends were creating dramatic skits based on scenes from my novel. Could a children’s writer get a better compliment? Nope.)
It was a thrill to learn that my middle-grade comedy,26 Tips for Surviving Grade 6, won the children’s choice award in the English fiction category. I’m honoured by the votes of all those boys and girls (I’m guessing mostly girls) who made my book a winner. (See the Press Release on the winners in all categories.)
The event was live-streamed through the Hackmatack website, so the wonderful people at Lorimer, my publisher, were able to send me their congratulations immediately.
I flew home that afternoon, ending one of the best work weeks I can remember.