Mar 26, 2009

PEN New England Discovery Award Winners

I'm lucky to be a member of the PEN New England Children's Book Caucus and I'm also the coordinator of the PEN NE Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award. Well, we just announced the four winners who were selected by the caucus from a record 200 entries!

Usually we have around 100 entries. Why so many this year? Maybe more people are graduating from MFA programs? Maybe job loss has allowed some people to finally polish off that novel or picture book that they always wanted to write?

Either way, it was great to see so many entries and many were top notch in quality. It was hard to pick the winners this year and I'm positive there were many that didn't win that are of publishable quality and will go on to find homes at publishing houses.

I personally know that two of my good friends, Lara Zeises and Laurie Stolarz, both submitted to the contest way back when they were unpublished and while they didn't win, both have gone on to stellar careers.

And in fact a few days ago I received a letter from a woman named Jane Kohuth who submitted a picture book to the contest letting me know to take her out of the running because her book, Ducks Go Vroom, had been acquired by Random House. Well, it was too late to take her out of the running--but she hadn't won, which just goes to show you how subjective reading fiction is.

Anyway, here are our winners. Please come to our event and celebrate them. It's Sunday, May 3rd at 6:30 pm at Lesley College.

Maria Gianferrera of Waltham, MA for her picture book, Terrific Tongues
Anna Staniszewski of North Easton, MA for her middle grade novel, The Tinkerers
J. James Keels of Montpelier, VT for his YA novel, Starving Hysterical Naked
Shelagh Smith of East Bridgewater, MA for her YA novel, A Mouthful of Straw

Mar 4, 2009

I'll be at the Kinship Writers Festival March 21st

I'll be at the Kinship Writers Festival on March 21st in Arlington, Mass. I'll be reading from my not-yet-released book, THE OTHER HALF OF LIFE--this is the first time I'm reading from it in public! I'll also have a booth at the event focused on the craft of "Writing What You Don't Know" with ideas on how writers can write convincingly about stories that are not at all similar to their life experiences.

There are plenty of other great writers reading and holding booths so whether you're a writer and/or a reader come check it out! This is the brainchild of Erin Moulton and I'd like to thank her for inviting me to participate. Another fun tidbit for me is that two of the other authors reading--Erin Dionne and Ammi-Joan Paquette--are former PEN New England Discovery Winners.

For more info, here's the link.... hope to see you there!