About a year ago I put up a post about how we might measure success.

I quoted author Sonya Hartnett who said:

“I would never be great at what I did. I would never have [commercial] success…I’m good but I am not great. All these things I have just become resigned to. It’s better to be all right than to be crappy. Better to have moderate [commercial] success than have no [literary] success”

A couple of weeks ago I borrowed The Ghosts’ Child from our local library for my daughter. Very soon, I found myself thumbing through it … and I couldn’t put the novel down. Here is a children’s book with great depth and feeling. It’s about an elderly lady looking back at her life, seeing life as a mountain which she climbs and then gazing back at her journey. Very philosophical. Very wise stuff for a kid’s book.

A couple of days ago, I found out that the author had won the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, the world’s biggest prize for children’s and youth literature. The award is funded by the Swedish Government. The prize money is worth RM2.4 million!

Well, I think Sonya Hartnett has not only achieved commercial success but also literary success. We can measure success in a lot of ways. How you feel about your own writing, your own internal accomplishments, I believe is the most vital. But winning the prize is a pretty spectacular achievement.

Advertisements