Making a shortlist and/or winning an award can make a difference in the life of your novel but it’s not anything you have control over. I always tell everyone that I work just as hard on books that somehow don’t hit a note with critics or readers as I do on ones that do.

So I was happily surprised when Body Swap shortlisted on the Hamilton Arts Award fiction list. There is no special category for children’s and young adult literature which means my book needed to compete with adult literature to make this list.As I sat in the audience with at least thirty friends and family members, I felt as though I had already won in the category of most loving support. But as I listened to the other nominees’ credentials: Anna Chatterton is a GG nominated playwright, she was up for her play Quiver, and Margaret Lindsay Holton,is a previous HA fiction winner, filmmaker and visual artist extraordinaire, and was nominated for her novel Trillium–I doubted my chances of winning. Each of the three of us read and I enjoyed being able to entertain my supportive audience. This was a lovely celebration of my work on its own.

But then Body Swap won! What a great surprise!


Reading from Body Swap at Hamilton Awards Night

Another wonderful surprise came earlier in 2019 when  my agent Amy Tompkins, who attended the Hamilton Awards Ceremony, sold Russian translation rights for the Great Mistake Mysteries to Eksmo Publishing.The plot twist is that the Russian literary agent involved lives part time right in my own town Burlington.I was able to go to lunch with Olga Baykova. What a rare privilege.It’s so much fun to meet people whose great geographical differences are still surpassed by the commonality of our love of children’s literature. A new friend from a distant land.

Finally, the biggest privilege of the year came from the I Read Canadian campaign initiated by Eric Walters. I pitched a project to my son Craig McNicoll at Epilogue Productions. We video authors in my home at below market rates so long as we can get five together on any given day. This videos are readings and interviews designed to raise awareness of the wonderful writers and stories Canada produces. Craig agreed, he’s grown up around all my writer friends and loves authors and books.

We hoped for a day or two but because of the enthusiastic response, we keep going.So far we have videoed some 20 authors.( I will post my own videos here soon.) And into the new year expect to video some 20 more. How often do you get to partner with your son on a project you both are passionate about. You can watch the videos at Sylvia McNicoll-YouTube  You can also read the titles, February 19, or any day by visiting your local library or ordering them from your favourite bookstore.  Happy New Year!

Don’t forget to read a Canadian book February 19

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