Tag Archives: The Book of Everything


Guus Kuijer and the Dutch edition of The Book of Everything.

‘Guus is on TV!’ yelled Mevrouw T. She watches the Dutch language news on the multicultural SBS channel each morning at 8.04 a.m. Indeed, there was Guus Kuijer, shyly rising to his feet to acknowledge the announcement of the winner of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for children’s literature.

I couldn’t be more delighted if I’d won it myself. Continue reading


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SYDNEY THEATRE AWARDS – should I prepare a speech?

Thomas (Matthew Whittet) confesses his doubts to his mate Jesus (John Leary) in The Book of Everything. Photo Heidrun Lohr.

Hollywood’s glamorous Golden Globe Awards are being presented today, while in the Paddington RSL Club tonight a more modest affair will be taking place as the Sydney Theatre Award winners are announced.

My stage adaptation of Guus Kuijer’s novel The Book of Everything has been nominated as Best New Australian Work and also as Best Production for Children. Kim Carpenter has been nominated for his costumes for the show, while our director Neil Armfield, and actors Yael Stone and Peter Carroll are up for gongs for their work on other productions. Congratulations all, and we’re delighted to have been recognised.

The stars will be arriving at the Golden Globes in their limos, walking the red carpet, dressed in Gucci and Armani. In Paddington, Mevrouw T and I will hoping for a good parking spot for the Corolla, then walking the footpath, dressed in clothes sourced from Marrickville recycled clothing shops. I found a fine tuxedo there for $2, but decided against it. Too dressy. It’s just wasn’t me.

No doubt the Golden Globes will be surrounded by glittering parties where the Moet will flow. At the Sydney Theatre Awards it’s buy your own drinks at bar prices – a sure way to keep the acceptance speeches coherent.

Which brings me to my dilemma. Is it uncool to carry an acceptance speech in my pocket? ‘Wow, this is just sooo amazing!’ followed by floods of tears is fine if you win Best New Supporting Actor, but we writers are expected to be witty and articulate. We have thirty seconds to get a few laughs and offer an insightful exit strategy from the crisis in Afghanistan.

It’s hard to do that off the cuff. On the other hand, pulling out a sheet of paper looks as if you expected to win. Even worse is not winning, and someone finding out later that you’d spent a month preparing the speech.

The bottom line is, it doesn’t matter. It’s nice to be nominated. There’s no money involved. It’s probably not even a boost to the career. In the unlikely event of your name being called, everybody wants you on and off the podium asap, and nobody cares how much your grandkids contributed to the Best Production for Children.

Naturally, all of the above is just an excuse to mention The Book of Everything again. It is a super production, and will tour later this year to Adelaide, Darwin, Geelong, Wollongong, and Sydney’s Seymour Centre. Plans are well in train for a modest New York run in 2012. Do make sure you see it.

STOP PRESS: The Book of Everything won the award as 2010 Best Production for Children. Director Neil Armfield and producer/designer Kim Carpenter did the talking, so I could just sit back and be thanked myself – which was much more relaxing!


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