So the Quill Awards were last night. This is a new book award: the nominees are chosen by booksellers and librarians, and then finalists are voted on by the people. Kind of like the People’s Choice Awards, but for books, I guess. There apparently was a red carpet and everything (the show will air later this month on NBC). The thing that was so fascinating for me, though, was the contrast between the people presenting the awards and those receiving them. The Debut Author of the year got her award from Kim Cattrall (Samantha from Sex and The City, how exciting would THAT be?) the children’s book winner picked up theirs from Elmo. (Yes, that Elmo.) The winner for YA was announced by Anthony Rapp, who I believe was in Dazed and Confused: I just have to say that if it was me, I would lose my mind to meet someone who had been in that movie.

It’s a little weird, though, because you don’t really think of book awards as being glam and red carpet-esque. All the other awards seem to be very serious, decided by committees. So maybe this is a good thing? Along with Oprah bringing back modern novels and authors to her book club (so exciting, I love James Frey, good for him) it could be a change in the way we look at what we read, and how we make the choices about the books we select. Which is exciting. Almost as exciting as meeting Elmo or Kim Cattrall.

I’ve only been nominated for a big book prize once, when This Lullaby was up for an LA Times Book Award. It was really something: I got to go out to LA, and be at the Festival of Books, where there were authors everywhere. I was agog, there is no other word for it. I saw Jonathan Safran Foer, Carl Reiner, Amy Tan, Nicole Krauss, Nicolas Sparks and about a million other Very Famous Authors, all of them only mere feet away from me. (I also saw Barney and Heidi Fleiss, a weird juxtaposition if you’ve ever seen one.) I did not win an award, but I did meet Naomi Wolfe and chat with her at the hotel bar, which was pretty great. I have to say, though, it was just so different from what you do to actually get there. Writing is so solitary, just you at the computer, being neurotic and tapping away (or maybe that’s just me), while those events are so much more public, everyone talking about writing: it’s like the flipside, or something. I had a great time, but too much would have done me in. I was happy to come back home, to my reclusive and boring life, and get back to work.

Which, incidentally, is what I should also do right now. Have a good day everyone!

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