Winner of the 2012 Text Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing

The winner of the 2012 Text Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing was announced last night at a special ceremony in Melbourne.  Some of my favourite books have been published thanks to the wonderful people at Text Publishing, who award this prize.  This year’s winner sounds like a really interesting story and I can’t wait to read it next year.  Read on for more information about the prize from Text.

The winner of the 2012 Text Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing is A.J. Betts, for her tender and funny young adult novel Zac and Mia.

Zac and Mia opens in an oncology ward in Perth, where 17-year-old Zac is recovering from a bone marrow transplant for leukaemia. He and Mia, the ‘newbie’ patient in the room next door, begin a friendship via Facebook, letters and messages passed through one of the nurses—but out of hospital things are a lot more complicated. Written with great humour, Zac and Mia is a realistic novel about being a young person in extraordinary circumstances.

An English teacher and university lecturer from Perth, A.J. Betts has won $10,000 and a publishing contract with Text Publishing. Betts is also the author of two young adult novels, Shutter Speed (2008) and Wavelength (2010). Wavelengh was shortlisted for the West Australian Premier’s Prize in 2011.

On hearing the news, Betts commented, ‘I’m thrilled. Writing a novel is a long, all-consuming task, often plagued with self-doubt. To come out the other side and receive such validating news is more than a writer could hope for. I’m honoured and humbled by the judges’ decision, and very excited about the future of Zac and Mia.’

Michael Heyward, Publisher at Text, remarked, ‘The Text Prize is now five years old. We’ve published some wonderful books in that time: The Billionaire’s Curse by Richard Newsome, This Is Shyness by Leanne Hall, The Bridge by Jane Higgins and Fire in the Sea by Myke Bartlett. Now we have a wonderful fifth novel to publish: Zac and Mia by A.J. Betts, a deeply moving book about the relationship that grows between two kids with cancer. We can’t wait to usher this marvellous book into the world.’

Zac and Mia by A. J. Betts will be published in August 2013.

The Text Prize is awarded annually to the best manuscript written by an Australian or New Zealander for young adults or children. Entries for the 2013 prize open in March 2013. Watch out for the 2011 Text Prize winner, Fire in the Sea by Myke Bartlett, in August 2012.

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