Last night Mary Logue and I attended the 23rd Annual Minnesota Book Awards Gala at the Crowne Plaza in St. Paul, the "seventh most literate city in the country." My novel Blank Confession was a finalist in the Young People's Literature category.
It was a fabulous event—books, booze, dessert, and seven hundred people. I must have known about two hundred of them, putting my name recollection skills to a brutal test. Author David LaRochelle, a tall, handsome, distinctive-looking man who I know quite well, approached me...and I drew a big goose egg. FAIL!
The event was organized by The Friends of the St. Paul Public Library, with the lovely and prodigiously competent Alayne Ferguson at the helm. The event was, in my experience, unique in that while about thirty people had the microphone at one point or another, nobody blathered on for long. Even the current and former mayors of St. Paul kept it down to three or four minutes. Carol Connolly provided one of the highlights of the evening when she accepted the Kay Sexton Award for Contributions to Minnesota's Book Community. St. Paul Pioneer Press book columnist Mary Ann Grossman was great too, as she presented the Reader's Choice Award to her Star Tribune counterpart Laurie Hertzel.
The best part of the evening for me, of course, was the strawberry jam with my name on it.
That's right—I won. The hand-blown glass award, designed by artist Dick Huss, is intended, I think, to represent a flame. But I prefer to think of it as strawberry jam preserved in glass. Yum!