Have you won any writing awards?
This is another question I often get asked. Like the previous two that I've described (how many books have you written? and how long does it take to write a book?) it's not always easy to answer - but perhaps for a different reason. I'm enjoying pondering on a few responses to these questions so that next time I get asked them, and I'm floundering for a coherent response, at least I'll know that it makes sense on my blog.
The short answer is yes. I can recite a list of awards I've won or been shortlisted for.
But what is a writing award? It can be as grand as the Booker, or it can be a regional short story competition - do they both make you into an "award winning author"?
Another reason I'm ambivalent about this question is that I've been on judging panels myself, and I know how hard it can be to reach a consensus - and that a different panel of judges would probably have come up with a totally different winner, and quite possibly a different shortlist as well.
I think the "award winning author" category is used by teachers to help students pinpoint someone to study - because students are often the ones emailing the question. It can work for that purpose - but I'm sure that somewhere on Google there will be a list of "authors who never won a major award."