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Worth the Wait for Hold On!

ACT Writers proudly presents the ACT Writing and Publishing awards annually. But over the past couple of years, the pandemic and lockdowns made this logistically difficult. To continue to celebrate the resilience and achievements of local writers, ACT Writers decided to host a one-off adaptive format, the ACT Notable Awards 2022. Shortlisted entries for books published in 2020 and 2021, by both small and big press, were announced in early July 2022. Hold On! Saving the Sotted Handfish was fortunate to be among the Shortlisted entries for the Children’s big press award for 2020.

The award ceremony was the first physical event held by ACT Writers in two years! Held on 29 July 2022 at the picturesque Canberra Contemporary Art Space, alongside Lake Burley Griffin, the event was attended by an excited throng of "masked" local writers, illustrators, publishers and friends. On the night, Hold On! was even more fortunate to be announced as the Winner for its category. This is what the judges said:

Hold On! Saving The Spotted Handfish is an informative narrative with stunning illustrations and an engaging design. Hold On! Saving the Spotted Handfish harnesses the harmony of illustrations and text to give a message of hope to children about protecting our planet’s natural resources. The language suits young readers while integrating inclusive scientific language with a glossary to support new language acquisition.

On behalf of myself and my collaborators, the amazing artist Rachel Tribout and Briana and the gang at CSIRO Publishing, I sincerely thank ACT Writers for this wonderful accolade and recognition. This narrative non-fiction children’s book showcases an important story of threat and conservation for an iconic and adorable Aussie marine fish. The Spotted Handfish deserves to be a household name!

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