Sherryl Clark, a long-time writing teacher at Victoria University Polytechnic, has won a 2022 Prime Minister’s Literary Award.
Her book Mina and the Whole Wide World, won in the category of Children’s Literature. The story features a young girl who wants her own bedroom more than anything else, but ultimately finds friendship in the least expected places.
Dr Clark, who completed a PhD at VU in 2018, has been writing poems and stories for children for more than 20 years. She has taught professional writing and editing at Victoria University Polytechnic since 1996, and now writes full-time.
“I had wanted to write this story for more than two years but was stuck - then I was granted a writing residency at Arteles in Finland, and somehow the story just burst out while I was there.”
“It was amazing - I wrote much of it in a little cafe in the nearby town of Hameenkyro. I am so pleased to win and hope it gains many more readers. I believe the book has a strong, compassionate heart, and I hope children will love it.”
The judges said: “This is an outstanding example of a verse novel for younger readers; a slim yet satisfying story that opens up a world of ideas with plenty of space for children to imagine, empathise and ponder complex issues and feelings.”
Dr Clark, an Altona North resident for more than 30 years, has written more than 65 books which have been published in Australia and overseas, including the USA, UK, Spain, Mexico and China.
Her other writing awards include the NSW Premier’s Literary Award in 2005, and an honour award from the Children’s Book Council of Australia in 2008.
Mina and the Whole Wide World was illustrated by Briony Stewart, and published by University of Queensland Press.