A Rare Good Day to be a Writer

                                                           Let’s live dangerously…

So this morning my cousin in New York, Facebooks me – “Congratulations on your prize! Awesome!”

 I message her back. (Somewhat shamefacedly.) “Umm, I didnt get one. But thank you! I wish I did…”
 She then forwards me the email announcement that her sister sent her (who works in Fiji for the University of the South Pacific) The announcement of the winners for the USP Press Awards, 2011. And what do you know? I did get a prize! Not only that, but my uncle Prof.Albert Wendt ( who as we know is the ‘Father of Pacific Literature’) took out the grand overall winner prize. And that’s how a (mixed up) Samoan-Maori writer living in New Zealand finds out that she won the USP Press Fiction Award via a cousin in the Big Apple, via Facebook, via another cousin in Fiji… Cool. 
I entered the competition back in January and then forgot all about it in the TELESA book chaos. What did I do when I got the news? I jumped up and down. Screamed a little. (Ok, I screamed a lot. I’m so uncool.What can I say, I’m so unused to winning things) I called the Hot Man so I could share the joy. I must have shared a little bit too much  S C R E A M I N G because he nearly crashed his car on the motorway. Pulled over, panicked, thinking I had been in an accident. What is it? Is it one of the children? What’s happened? Are you alright?
I told him my wonderful news. And he said, Dammnit, I thought one of my kids got hit by a bus or something. That’s not really the response I was looking for. Once he had established that all the family were alive, he hung up the phone. Buzz-Killer.
So thats why Im sharing my news with you my blogger world friends. (None of you are in danger of being distracted by my screaming and then crashing your car are you?) I’m letting you know that a collection of my short fiction ( some of it culled from Sleepless in Samoa blog posts) has won the Fiction Award and will be published by South Pacific Press. The collection is called…wait for it… ‘Sleepless in Samoa’! I know, I know my creative originality astounds even me. Not.

Its not often that a writer gets to be buzzed about their work. Let’s face it, it can get a little quiet and claustrophobic in our hermit caves…So, if any of you would like to be a little jubilant with me then please feel free to crack open a Diet Coke and slip in some Kahlua, grab some Boston cream donuts and go a little wild. I’ll be that chick dancing on the table to my current fave song, Cheers to the Freakin Weekend by Rihanna.
Thank you USP Press and congratulations to all the winners!

                                                    USP PRESS AWARDS
The USP Press wishes to announce the winners of its International Competition. Close to 100 entries were submitted to this competition. (Cash prizes are in US dollars)
USP Press Literature Prize for Overall Winner ($3,000):
‘Ancestors’ by Albert Wendt (collection of short stories)

Fiction ($1,000): ‘Sleepless in Samoa’ by Lani Wendt Young (collection of short stories)
Commendable Mention ($300): Maiden Fiji by Samantha Peckham-Togiatama (novel)

Poetry ($1,000): ’14 Degrees South’ by John Enright ($500)
and When Things are Dirty ($500) by David Howard

Drama or Screenplay ($1,000): The Cycle by Andrew Porteus
Commendable Mention ($300): The Visitors by Larry Thomas

USP Press Non-Fiction Prize for Overall Winner ($3,000):
Mystery Islands: Discovering Ancient Pacific by Tom Koppel

History/Autobiography ($1,000):
My Memories of David by Ilaisaane Kakala Taumoefolau

USP Press Best Children’s Book ($2,000):
Killer Waves by Sereima Lumelume
Commendable Mention: Hair Raising Cut by Emma Kruse Vaai ($300)
Welcome to Our Islands by Leslie Hayashi and Lori Philips ($300)
and Friends of Joji by Nicole Daniels ($300).

The USP Press will publish the winning titles. Congratulations to the winners and many thanks to the panel of judges and everyone who made submissions.
Professor Vilsoni Hereniko, Chair, Editorial Board of the USP Press

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16 comments

  1. Yes – I will be more than happy to crack open a pepsi (that's all i've got at home at the moment) and some oreo's as a substitue for the coke and donuts. Congratulations!.

  2. You deserve it Lani! Man I would be hootin and hollern too! I swear men think the worse when it comes to good news. lol… I hope you spoil yourself endlessly with your tupe! Congrats~

  3. Ok 2nd attempt at a comment. WHAT GREAT NEWS!!! Congratulations on your latest literary achievement Lani! How the Hot Man could have hung up the phone over such an important milestone is mind boggling lol but I'm SURE he made up for it when he got home haha. And I'll stop there as I know this is a G rated blog haha. I had a diet coke today at lunch to celebrate. And Henry and I celebrated over choc chip cookies this morning (well actually just me cos I ate them all) before I drove him to the airport on his way to prostitute himself at the Wales vs Samoa game lol. Again, that's awesome news and I'm sure I speak for many Samoans when I say we are very proud! 🙂

  4. congratulations on the press award Lani… and in celebration I will crack open a coke zero and do a little dance tomorrow (gotta buy the coke zero first lol).

  5. Thank you everyone for the generous help with my celebrating! Now that I've had my donuts, excessive amounts of Diet Coke and finished dancing on the table with Rihanna (fell off…a little too tipsy on caffeine, but dont worry, I'm fine.) – I am ready to get back into my regular hermit cave routine.

  6. MALO LAVA !!! Well done Lani. No one deserves it more… This is me who has only found you in the past week lol … you truly make me proud to be samoan and really happy for you and all your hard work getting the recognition it deserves. Congratulations ….

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