Thursday, 7 November 2019

Ssshhh, don’t tell anyone – impostor syndrome and the activist author by Dawn Finch

I’m just about to take over a role that I feel wholly unqualified for. This month I take over from Shoo Rayner as the next Chair of the Society of Author’s Children’s Writers and Illustrators Group committee. The committee has a long and illustrious list of former members and Chairs. Award winners and celebrated (and famous) writers, poets and illustrators have held this position. Shoo is proper famous, and amazing and an inspiration.

And now me. What on earth am I thinking? Imposter syndrome is kicking in big-time right now. I mean, I’ve never won anything for my books, or even been shortlisted. Sure, my non-fiction books are in pretty much every primary school in the country, and on the curriculum, but I’m no Carnegie winner. I’ve never had anything turned into a movie, or a tv show, and I’ve never had publishers bid in one of those six-way auctions things. I’m not famous, and my bank account shows that.

Who the hell am I and what am I thinking?

Well, maybe some people will know me from my library activism. Maybe some will have heard me on the radio talking about national literacy or library campaigns. Maybe some will have read my articles in the newspaper, or used my resources on degree courses. Maybe some will have been among the crowd when I’ve given speeches. Maybe others will have been at events where I’ve been talking about the rights of the reader and the rights of the people who create for them. Maybe some will use my reference materials for research, maybe others will have been on training courses I’ve delivered.

Maybe I can do this. I’m not as big a name as some of my predecessors, but I know I have the support of them and I have a world of experience around me to lean on and to turn to. I have the rest of the committee and the Society and all the members and together we can keep on making a difference.

Maybe I’ve got this.
Maybe we all have.

Dawn Finch is a children’s writer and library activist and the new chair of the Society of Authors’ Children’s Writers and Illustrators Group (CWIG)

Join and support the Society of Authors and protect your rights, and help to protect the rights of others.


monica said...
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Penny Dolan said...

Wishing you lots of strength and energy for your "new adventure". I'm sure you'll be brilliant - and have lots of interesting and enjoyable times.

Thanks for volunteering to take this on, Dawn.