On 14 June, the Literary Awards of the Canton of Berne were awarded at the "Dampfzentrale" Cultural Venue in Berne. When the invitation came sliding through my letterbox, I had two pleasant surprises:
1) AUTILLUS member Lorenz Pauli was awarded the "Prix Trouvaille" for his work "Pass auf mich auf" (Look After Me).
2) With Regina Dürig, there was a second prize winner among the Children's and YA writers.
It's not every day children's books win awards. The nominations are often subject tonewspaper reviews or those on TV and the radio. As children's books are hardly ever discussed in those media, writers in those fields usually don't stand a chance of winning. That the Cantonal Literature Committee for the German Part works differently paid up for Children's and YA literature this time.
The public still often sees Children's and YA literature not as "real literature". It's just for kids, right? Lorenz Pauli clarified how wrong this point of view is in his acceptance speech. Gist: He writes for the short ones who like short stories with short words and big letters. He's never been one of the big words. But he likes to see himself as a dealer for the gateway drug children's book. Because only thanks to people like him, who got children hooked on stories, was it guaranteed that the short ones would one day reach out to longer books with longer stories and smaller letters.
What Lorenz didn't mention in his modesty: working on short stories with short words is by far more difficult than simply being able to resort to longer words. Already Hemingway made this point: It's hard work to make it look simple.
Website Department of Culture Canton of Berne (German and French):