Atlantic Book Awards Night

Jacob and I will be heading down to Alderney Landing tonight for the Atlantic Book Awards.  I’m not at all expecting that HARE will win the Ann Connor Brimer Award, not that it wouldn’t be nice, but I’m looking forward to meeting some of Atlantic Canada’s literary luminaries.  The evening starts with a reception for the nominees and guests, followed by a silent auction, with the actual awards ceremony starting at 7:00 pm.

In looking ahead to the evening, I’ve been thinking about the book and its journey so far.  I guess I didn’t know what to expect before the book was published, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the recognition it’s received so far, both in Canada and in the US.  In no particular order:

  • starred Kirkus Review
  • USBBY Honor List of Outstanding International Books 2011
  • Sask. Young Readers Choice Awards nominee 2011 (SYRCA)
  • Ann Connor Brimer Award shortlist
  • National Silver Medal, IPPY, US Independent Publishers Award
  • Skipping Stones Honor List
  • Woozles Battle of the Books 2012 list  (both elementary and high school)
  • on the shelves of hundreds of libraries in Canada, US, Australia and New Zealand

What all this means is that through HARE, Jacob’s story has already reached a wide audience (I’m hoping it will continue to for years to come) and I hope the publicity will in various ways support his work with Wadeng Wings of Hope.  Which was, after all, the impetus  behind the book’s creation!  Thanks to everybody who took the time to read the book and tell other people about it. Cheers!

Are writers control freaks?

“Writing gives you the illusion of control, and then you realize it’s just an illusion, that people are going to bring their own stuff into it.”
David Sedaris

I haven’t read anything by David Sedaris yet, but I love this quote.  Sometimes I wonder if a lot of writers write because they like being in charge – the world they’re creating in their story is completely within their command. Personally, I like being in control, both of my real life, and my writing life, but sometimes that control can be elusive.  When I do school visits, I always tell kids I’m a writer because I’m very nosy.  I like to know things about people and what motivates them; if I don’t know something, I can always make up a story that answers my questions.  The idea that an author’s version of his/her own story can only completely exist within the author’s mind, because each reader brings individual experiences to the reading of the book, really made me stop and think. Maybe authors have less control than they think!  Food for thought…

I’ve been reading lots of middle grade books lately.  Gossamer, by Lois Lowry, is fascinating and the type of book I’d never be able to write.  In this book, she explores dreams and nightmares in her usual incredibly imaginative way. Just finished Leo and the Lesser Lion, by Sandra Forrester – it’s set during the Depression and has the kind of characters you get to know intimately; people you  continue to think about after you’ve finished the book.  Also read Neil Armstrong is My Uncle by Nan Marino which is set in 1969 and also has 3D characters who seem like real people. One of the main characters is nicknamed Muscle Man McGinty – this book made me laugh out loud in parts, but it’s also poignant and insightful. When I visit schools, I tell kids that, to me, reading is the most essential part of being a writer which usually seems to surprise them.