It has been an overwhelming couple of
weeks. On Feb 1, Chinese Fish was awarded the Victorian Premier's Prize for Poetry, and the Victorian Prize for Literature! What an incredible surprise (it still hasn't sunk in). When the book was first published in June of last year, I recall thinking that I would be so thrilled if it was shortlisted - when I received news of the shortlisting back in December, I was over the moon. For Chinese Fish to be acknowledged with these awards is not something I ever imagined. I am so very grateful for this huge honour.
My acceptance speech for the Poetry prize is copied below, with a few photos. I will be adding photos and links over the next couple of weeks, as time allows...
Thank you to the judges, the Wheeler Centre, the Premier, for making this award possible. I am hugely grateful.
First, I’d like to congratulate my fellow nominees, Claire Miranda Roberts & Susie Anderson – whose books are equally deserving of this prize, I’m honoured to have been shortlisted alongside you.
Chinese Fish was written on the lands of the Wurundjeri Woi-Wurrung people, and the Ngāi Tahu in Aotearoa New Zealand. I pay my deep respects to their elders, past and present.
Writing is a solitary endeavour, but it takes an entire village to nurture and complete a manuscript, and to launch a book out into the world.
I would like to thank Marion May Campbell and Fran Martin, who supported this project from its inception.
Thank you to all the literary journal editors who published poems from the book before it became a book.
Thank you to Ivor Indyk and the brilliant team at Giramondo Publishing – Aleesha Paz, Kate Prendergast, Nick Tapper, and Lisa Gorton – for taking a chance on this ‘experimental work’, and for their enthusiasm and tireless support.
Thank you to all the booksellers and reviewers.
Thank you to Ely Finch, for advice on the translations.
Thank you to Zachary Wong for the illustrations.
Thank you to my astute friends Alison Wong, Coral Campbell & Helen Gildfind, for reading multiple versions of the manuscript.
To my very dear friends and family across Aotearoa and Australia, especially George, and Zachary and Demelza, thank you for being my biggest champions.
Chinese Fish could not have been written without all of you.
With Alison Wong, on arrival at The Edge, Fed Square
Accepting the Prize for Poetry. Photo: Alison Wong.
With the other award recipients. Back (L-R): Antony Loewenstein, Ellen van Neerven, Daniel Browning, Rachel Morton, S. Shakthidharan
Front (L-R): me, Melissa Lucashenko, Lili Wilkinson. (Absent: Eamon Flack, Remy Lai.) Photo: Wheeler Centre, TJ Garvie.
With Kate Torney, Chair of the Wheeler Centre, and Erin Vincent,
CEO of the Wheeler Centre. Photo: Wheeler Centre, TJ Garvie.
Photo: Wheeler Centre, TJ Garvie