Precious book award-winner
By EMMA CORNFORD
GREG CROOKS wrote Can I Take My Panda Daddy? as a form of therapy after his son Sean died of a brain tumour.
While he hoped it would help parents who were going through a similar experience, he never thought he would win a prize for his work.
But Mr Crooks has taken home this year's Wild and Woolley literary prize for independently published books in the biography section.
"I only entered a week before it closed," he said.
"I was hopeful, of course you always are that you'll get some recognition, but I was really quite surprised when they told me I had won."
The awards, run by the NSW Writers' Centre, incorporated a weekend of talks as well as the opportunity to meet other authors.
"It was really good to meet other authors who were all struggling with independent books like me," he said.
Since the book was published and included on recommended reading lists with the Brain Tumour Australia, the Clown Doctors and Palliative Care Australia, Mr Crooks said he had received positive feedback from parents.
"I've had a lot of people email me who are in similar situations and they've said it's helped them greatly ... knowing that they weren't the only ones going through the experience," he said.
"It's definitely encouraged me to keep on writing. I think I might do another non-fiction."
Can I Take My Panda Daddy? is available at the Grafton Base Hospital shop, the Book Warehouse at Yamba and Strand Gallery Bookshop in Maclean.