Newspaper Article 2017 – Author reads up on competition

Author reads up on competition

By Linda Hall

After being named as a finalist in the NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults for her second book, Coming Home to Roost, Mary-anne Scott set herself a goal.

The Havelock North author and musician has bought or borrowed every single book named as a finalist in every category – that’s more than 30 books.

Mrs Scott, whose book is a finalist in the Copyright Licensing NZ Award for Young Adult Fiction, said she wanted to read the books “not because I’m up against them, but so I can see how they are structured”.

“I’m going to be sitting rubbing shoulders with some of my idols at the finals ceremony. It’s amazing and I want to be able to talk to them about their books.”

This is not the first time Mrs Scott has been recognised for her writing. Her first novel, Snakes and Ladders, aimed at teenagers, particularly boys, won the 2013 young adult category of the Children’s Choice award at the NZ Post Book Awards. It was also shortlisted for the 2013 LIANZA awards.

She says being a finalist in these awards gives her book another chance.

“It’s hard to see them sinking after the initial attentions when they are first released.

“A lot of work went into editing this book so it’s nice to see it recognised.

“Editing and re-editing is something I have learned is so important and I put my heart and soul into it. Rewriting, making the story fresher over and over again.”

Mrs Scott has been busy writing another book which is “sitting on a desk at Penguin/Random House”.

“I’m well aware there’s a trash bin sitting at their feet – it could be turfed out.”

She said it was getting easier to write but with that came a certain “risk I might get blase”.

Photo caption – BOOKWORM: Hawke’s Bay author Mary-anne Scott’s latest book , Coming Home to Roost, has made the finals of the NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. She is pictured at the Hastings Library. PHOTO/WARREN BUCKLAND

However, she doesn’t have to look far for inspiration.

“I recently picked up Catherine Chidgey’s The Wish Child to read. Every word is so beautiful – it motivated me to keep trying my best.”

When Mrs Scott needs time out to write, she retreats to the family bach at Mahia.

“I set up my standing desk outside and write. It’s truly isolated and the perfect place to think.”

She has been invited to Gisborne schools to help young writers and was thrilled the students came to her in their lunch break. As yet she has not been invited to any Hawke’s Bay schools “but am hoping I will be”.

The judges for the 2017 awards are convener Pam Jones, Trish Brooking, Ben Brown, Sarah Forster and Rachael King. Professor Martin Salisbury is an adviser for the Russell Clark Award for Illustration.

“This year’s shortlist reminds us that books are powerful vehicles for helping children make sense of their world and gain a better understanding of themselves and others,” Ms Jones said.

“At times the vividly descriptive writing was brutal and heart-breaking, providing moving portrayals of life through the eyes of children and teenagers. All finalist titles are convincing in their realism, skilfully laced with honour and honesty throughout.”

Young readers will have a chance to meet the finalist authors in early August, at three big events. The first is in Christchurch (August 7 in association with WORD Christchurch); then in Dunedin (August 11 and 12 in association with Dunedin Public Libraries and UBS Otago); and finally in Wellington on August 14 when the winners will be announced.

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Newspaper article

Date published

24 June 2017


Hawke's Bay Today


Published with permission of Hawke's Bay Today


  • Trish Brooking
  • Ben Brown
  • Warren Buckland
  • Catherine Chidgey
  • Sarah Forster
  • Linda Hall
  • Pam Jones
  • Rachael King
  • Professor Martin Salisbury
  • Mary-Anne Scott

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