If you follow such things, you may have heard that The Big Crunch won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Young Adult Literature.
Friday night I was at the awards ceremony on the USC campus, sitting in an auditorium with about 700 book people, waiting for the category winners to be announced. All of the finalists in the Young Adult category were sitting in the same row. To my left was Libba Bray (Beauty Queens) and her husband Barry Goldblatt. To my right sat David Levithan (who edited three of the finalists), Maggie Stiefvater (The Scorpio Races), Mal Peet (LIfe: An Exploded Diagram), and Patrick Ness (A Monster Calls). Libba, Maggie, Mal, and Patrick are four of the best writers I have ever had the pleasure to meet, and David is, needless to say, a remarkable editor.
The program was entertaining and well-organized, but of course I was sunk deep in my own hopes and fears, wondering if the things that were happening in my chest were signs of an incipient cardiac event.
When The Big Crunch was announced as the winner, all the tension drained out of me, to be replaced with a shaky, hallucinogenic calm that was equally weird but much more pleasant. I don't remember exactly what I said in my acceptance speech, but it came off okay. If the L.A. Times Book Prize people put up a video of the ceremony, I'll post a link.
The next two days at the L.A. Times Festival of Books was fabulous! I did a panel with Libba Bray, moderated by Angelina Benedetti. Angie proved to be an expert moderator, and Libba is smart, funny, and altogether good company. The panel was a blast. Afterward, Libba's husband, Barry, came up to me and said, "I'm glad to see there wasn't any chemistry between you and my wife!" Barry is almost as funny as Libba.
I arrived home at 1 am Sunday night. On Monday, Mary and I were having a quiet, relaxing dinner at home when the doorbell rang. It was our good friends Ilene and Zoran, who said they were in the neighborhood and decided to pop in. Great! Ilene and Zoran are welcome anytime. A few minutes later, the doorbell rang again. Another pop-in! My brother Jim and his wife Dorothy. What a coincidence, I thought. Then the doorbell rang a third time I began to get suspicious (duh!).
It was my first surprise party, organized by the amazing (and sneaky) Mary Logue. Needless to say, it was a very fun evening. Here's a pic of my mom. Ain't she cute?
And look at what my friend Mary Altman gave me!