Monday, April 22, 2013

On winning the LA Times Book Prize

So, yeah.
Last weekend was LA weekend. And yes, I knew I was a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize but did I think I'd win it? Hell no.
I'm an optimist. A positive thinker. But when it comes to awards, I just try not to think about it much.
That's just a sane way to approach that kind of stuff, I think. Anyway, I was honored to be a finalist...there was a lot of heavy medal on that list of contenders.

Anyway, I won it. And thank all gods that the young adult literature category was first because I didn't have to wait long for my heart to stop thumping out of my chest as the lovely Robin Benway announced each finalist, described our books, and then said the most unexpected words after the "And the winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Young Adult Literature is..." part.

I made a speech about love and how I've sent love to random passengers in airplanes my whole life. I asked the audience to send love to random passengers more often. I said, "Send love. It helps."

Then I sat down and enjoyed the rest of the fantastic ceremony with a downright normal heart rate. (And it really was a great ceremony. The LA Times and USC know how to do an award ceremony.)

At the end of the ceremony, I got to chat with Margaret Atwood about how she'd shown me early in my writing career (thanks to my HS English teacher who'd sent me Dancing Girls in a box full of books by women because I'd told her I was reading mostly male writers) that women could be serious literary writers and could be as innovative as they wanted to be. I cried as I talked to her, so it's safe to say that Margaret Atwood would never believe in a million years that I am part Vulcan.

Did I mention that Mr. King was with me for this trip? Oh he was. And how cool is that? I'll tell you how cool. Mr. King stays home to mind the kids every time I go anywhere. So not only did I get to take him to California, where he's wanted to go since he was a kid, but he got to see me win this thing. That's huge.
The man has been watching me write novels for 20 years.
He watched me get rejected for over 12 years.
He watched me get my first book deal.
He saw my face when I came down the steps that day after the Printz committee called...but he didn't get to come to New Orleans to hear me speak.
But he was there this time.
And it was so so great.

The festival was awesome. Every bit as amazing as I'd heard the LA Times Book Festival was.
I got to meet a load of very groovy fans (thank you all for coming out to see me!)
As always, I wish I got more pictures.

But I did get some good ones & Mr. King got some great ones too.
So here's our weekend in pictures...

Probably my favorite picture of us ever.
This is in the stretch limo from the airport to the hotel.
Had no idea there would be a limo.
I mean, come on. We're stinking hippies.
Screenshot form the LA Times Friday night/Sat morning.
This is the only picture of me accepting the award, so thanks to
Lawrence K. Ho for capturing my knack for speaking
with my hands.
Those are your winners and LA Times peeps.

That's me telling Margaret Atwood that she's awesome and telling her
about Rosemary Hauseman, my high school English teacher.
And that's the really cool Florence Williams on the right.
Florence wrote Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History
and won the Science and Technology prize.
Mr. King wanted to get a shot of me in front of the green room with my prize and those rocking
chandeliers behind me. USC campus is really beautiful. Did I mention that?
Our panel on Saturday morning was fantastic.
Left to right, a picture of the attending finalists and
the judges for this year: Martine Leavitt, Elizabeth Wein,
myself, Rollie Welch, Angie Benedetti, Lynn Rutan.
(Missing finalists Paolo Baciagalupi & Matthew Quick.)

This is the only picture I have (or will ever have) of Lemony Snicket. 

I ran into Daniel Handler and we decided to pose for prom-style pictures.
I couldn't keep a straight face.
The man is a comedic genius.

You know I love wing pictures.
Here's one over northern Arizona.

Now...I'm off to Texas.

TEXAS! Are you ready for me? I've been waiting years to get to you. YEARS. True fact: when I was 19, I outlined Texas on my US map in red marker because I was obsessed with getting there.

So, if you're a Texas librarian and you're heading to TLA, you can see me on Friday from 12-1 at the LBYR booth. We'll have copies of my books as well as ADVANCE COPIES of REALITY BOY.

Rock it.


Matt Phelan said...

Amy, you rock!! (you knew that already)
You won the freakin' LA Times Book Prize!! (you knew that, too, but somehow I missed the news until now)

Kathryn Craft said...

LOVE this post, Amy, congratulations! I'd say I couldn't possibly imagine being you in this situation, but now I can! And how cool to see you with Margaret Atwood.

Sarah said...

Loved reading this.

Congratulations - so well deserved!

Alys Robertson said...

Congratulations award well deserved!

The Kranky Crow said...

You've got me tremendously missing my purple Docs now.

Super congrats. So deserved!

Kimberly Sabatini said...

I love everything about this post. Sending love to random passengers as we speak...

Kimberly Sabatini said...

I love everything about this post. <3 Send love to random passengers now...

Anonymous said...

Great Shoes! Great Pics! Great Win!

Congrats from the Cat (who is waiting for the day when she reads "and now I'm off to Belgium for the next stop in my book tour" on this site!)

Melissa Sarno said...

Oh wow, congratulations! And you met Margaret Atwood! When do you come to NYC again? I've been so sad to miss your last few appearances.

Joanne R. Fritz said...

Yay! Glad you had such a wonderful time in L.A. Glad that Mr. King got to go too.

And congratulations! It's so damn cool that you won. And you totally deserve it. I plan to start sending love to passengers now and not just those on airplanes.