Sunshine Coast Daily - Caloundra Weekly - - FRONT PAGE - Sarah Diony­sius Sarah.Diony­[email protected]­

IT WAS 10 years in the mak­ing, but Jes­sica Townsend’s debut novel is now reap­ing huge re­wards for the young au­thor.

The Coast-born nov­el­ist has won the Aus­tralian Book of the Year award for her in­ter­na­tional pub­lish­ing suc­cess,

This is the first book in a se­ries of nine mid­dle-grade fan­tasy books to be re­leased by Ms Townsend.

The young au­thor said she was just glad the read­ers en­joyed her book as much as she did.

“I just wrote the book the way I wanted to read it and the way it has been re­ceived has been a re­ally welcome shock,” she said.

“I started writ­ing it when I was 18 but it was orig­i­nally about a lit­tle girl liv­ing with her ec­cen­tric aunt.

“I soon re­alised the aunt was a much more in­ter­est­ing char­ac­ter and that’s where it started.”

picked up three ac­co­lades at the 2018 Aus­tralian Book In­dus­try Awards, in­clud­ing Book of the Year, along with the Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year, and Book of the Year for Younger Read­ers.

“I don’t think any writer re­ally writes a novel ex­pect­ing to win an award but it is a hugely grat­i­fy­ing ex­pe­ri­ence,” Ms Townsend said.

“Writ­ing a book feels like a re­ally soli­tary thing but there is a lot of col­lab­o­ra­tion to bring it out into the world, so for me it’s a sign that my pub­lisher has done an amaz­ing job.”

Ms Townsend’s sec­ond novel, will be re­leased on Septem­ber 25.


IN THE BAG: Jes­sica Townsend’s debut novel has been named Book of the Year in the 2018 Aus­tralian Book In­dus­try Awards.

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