The Details of Today’s Adventures! With More Dancing!

I have finally calmed down and warmed up enough to blog. Sort of.

Where to start?

I know.

Congratulations to all of the winners and honor book winners announced today at ALA MidWinter!!! (I am looking for one page to link to that lists all of the winners. Can anyone help with that?)

I am especially happy for my old SCBWI friends who earned well-deserved awards: Hope Anita Smith won a Coretta Scott King Honor for Keeping the Night Watch and Jen Bryant, author of the Caldecott Honor book, A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams. YAY!!!

Fellow-NBA nominees Kathi Appelt won a Newbery Honor for The Underneath and E. Lockhart won a Printz Honor for The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. My sometimes-brother M.T. Anderson also won a Printz Honor for The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation Volume II: The Kingdom on the Waves. If there was an award for the longest title, I think he’d win that, too. And Jackie Woodson earned another Newbery Honor, this time for After Tupac and D Foster!

Last but not least, I am totally stoked that Neil Gaiman won the Newbery for The Graveyard Book! I have long been a fan of his writing (actually, I am one of those crazy, drooling gaimainites) and it is wonderful to see his work honored by librarians as well as fans.

And, um, yeah. I won an award too.

::cheeks blush, eyes puddle up::

The good and gracious members of the Edwards Committee have bestowed the breathtakingly stupendous Margaret A. Edwards Award, which “honors an author, as well as a specific body of his or her work, for significant and lasting achievement,” on me.

::wipes eyes, takes deep breath, composes self::

The beginning of the official announcement reads thusly: “Laurie Halse Anderson is the winner of the 2009 Margaret A. Edwards Award for Catalyst, Fever 1793, and Speak. These gripping and exceptionally well-written novels, through various settings, time periods, and circumstances, poignantly reflect the growing and changing realities facing teens. Iconic and classic in her storytelling and character development, Anderson has created for teens a body of work that continues to be widely read and cherished by a diverse audience.”

There’s more, but it stretches the bounds of Blatant Self Promotion to post it all. Read it on the YALSA site.

And make sure you check out the previous Edwards winners.

Suffice it to say, I am honored and humbled to have my work put in the class with writers whom I admire so much. And I am particularly proud that the committee singled out both Catalyst and Fever 1793, and that they get to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Speak, instead of in its shadow.

I actually found out about the Edwards earlier this weekend and, once again, had to walk around with two hands clapped over my mouth. (This made eating difficult and drinking coffee rather perilous.) I was extremely certain that Chains would not make anymore awards lists (it’s had its share, don’t you think?) and I know the anguish of sitting around watching the phone not ring, so early this morning, I packed up my bag and headed for the gym. Had a wonderful, if slow, 6-mile run onthe treadmill, then I treated myself to the ultimate reward: a two-hour massage. That’s right. TWO hours.


I came home, all relaxed and squishy, and VERY hungry. Stoked the woodstove, let the dog out, brought the dog in, locked the door, heated up a bowl of beef soup made from scratch, and reached for the book I am reading. I was one page into the book, three spoonfuls into the soup, when someone knocked on the front door. The Creature With Fangs went crazy. It was just the nice flower deliveryman, bringing me a gorgeous bouquet from Uncle Penguin. I stepped out into the vestibule to get the flowers and closed the door behind me, so the dog wouldn’t eat the nice deliveryman. As his truck drove away, I reached for the door handle.

It did not open. It had locked behind me.

I tried all of our doors. All locked. This is a very secure house, did you know that? It felt like 7 degrees outside, but it was sunny so the vestibule wasn’t quite that cold. BH had been down in Syracuse, but I knew he would be home soon, so it wasn’t worth hiking down to the farm to use their phone.

What does one do in that situation, locked out of one’s house on a winter’s day, hungry, tired, with no book to read or phone to call?

If you’ve just been awarded the Margaret A. Edwards Award, you listen to the music in your head and dance to keep warm. So I did. A little more than an hour later, BH came home, and all was well.

I am told that the cool color to wear to the Edwards shindig is orange. Must! Find! Orange! Shoes!

Matters of the Heart in Colonial America

I came across two interesting newspaper announcements when I was researching yesterday.

From the NY Gazetter and Weekly Mercury, Feb 24, 1777:

“If Daniel Carroll, late of Elizabeth-Town, New-Jersey, will call upon Mr. David Mercereau, on Staten-Island, he will hear where his wife is now.”

And from the The Pennsylvania Gazette, March 26, 1777

“Jemima Wilson, the wife of John Wilson, hereby forewarns all persons from trusting him on her account, for she never intends to live with him any more, nor have any concern with him, or to pay any of his debts; he is lame and I have taken the best care I could of him; he has sold all my effects.”

I offer these up for anyone in need of a writing prompt!

Friday Five – Book News Edition & Twitterpation

Thank you everyone for the very sweet comments and emails about the O’Dell Award! I am still tingling with excitement and hyperventilating.

Christmas is finally over up here on the Tundra. We’ve had Daughter #1 (aka Bookavore) and her boyfriend up here for the final celebration. Author Alert – Bookavore is moving to the Big Apple and will be managing WORD, a super-cool bookstore in Brooklyn, starting next month.

I have finally signed up for Twitter. I think it will be most fun while I’m on tour. My Twitter name is halseanderson. Feel free to follow!

My Friday Five is an assortment of book news I’ve been accumulating for a while.

1. Along with all the other amazing news this week, Isabel in CHAINS garnered a Cuffie Award. Be sure to read through the whole list!

2. The Israeli rights to TWISTED have been sold. Check out this student project about the book.

3. Penguin has posted my poem “Listen” on their website. The poem shares reader reactions to SPEAK. I wrote it for this year’s 10th anniversary of the book. (Follow the link, scroll down, and open the pdf.)

4. Illustrator Matt Faulkner has posted a DAMES video on YouTube.

5. We have a WINTERGIRLS Facebook page now. Another nice review has come in for WINTERGIRLS, but I can’t post it for a few weeks. Stay tuned!

I’m headed into the Writing Cave this weekend, hoping to blast through a plot knot and weave in a subplot. What are you doing?

Doing the Happy Dance in my Longjohns


I have a wee bit of news to share.

CHAINS is the winner of the 2009 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction.

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Here is the formal language: “Laurie Halse Anderson has won the 2009 Scott O’Dell Award for Chains (S&S, October 2008), narrated by teenaged Isabel Finch during the Revolutionary War. Although Isabel and her enslaved five-year-old sister were to be freed upon the death of their mistress, the woman’s heir sells the siblings to a new owner in New York City–that is the first of the betrayals that lie ahead, but also the beginning of Isabel’s fight for freedom. The award, established by O’Dell (best known as the author of The Island of the Blue Dolphins), is given annually to a meritorious work of historical fiction and includes a $5,000 prize.Chains was also a National Book Award Finalist, just like Anderson’s debut novel, Speak(Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1999).”

I found out Friday night and have been walking around with my hands clenched over my mouth ever since because I wasn’t supposed to tell anybody. I formally apologize to my writer’s group for not even telling them. I offer to make cake for our next meeting as my penance. Or bread. I’m better at bread than cake. (Paging Marie Antoinette…)

This is an unbelievable honor – one that I never imagined my work would receive. It feels delicious and bubbly and affirming and huzzah! huzzah! The hardest part is I want to tell Isabel and it takes so long for letters to reach the 18th century!

OK, I’m pretty much not capable of forming any other complete sentences.

Except for THANK YOU!!!!