Wednesday, March 18, 2009


New York Public Library Young Lion's Award

I was invited to the New York Public Library Young Lion's Award this past Sunday because Graywolf author, Salvatore Scibona, was a finalist for his book, The End. It was the first time I'd ever met Salvatore, though we know a few people in common, and I found him absolutely delightful and we both giggled about how lucky we felt we were to be with Graywolf and under the Fiona umbrella.

I met another young writer named Jessica Kane, who has just been signed for her first novel, though she's already published a collection of short stories. Suddenly this is a city in which I know so many people who write, and write well.

The people-watching was great fun. I wish I had taken a photo of a young man I privately referred to as "Lord Byron." He turned out to be Austin Scarlett, the designer, who rose to fame on Project Runway. See? This is what happens in New York when you go to an award ceremony in a library. And of course, there were lots of fancy editors and agents and writers, and yours truly, observing and mentally taking notes.

I've never seen anyone more perfect for a shoujo manga.

You can't tell, but that is Ethan Hawke at the podium. The Young Lion's Award was partly founded by Hawke, and he and his friends Billy Crudup and Zoe Kazan read selections from each of the finalist's books. Actors do not necessarily make great book readers.

We were ecstatic when Salvatore won; I'd never been at an award ceremony before, and certainly not for one in which the person I was rooting for actually won, so I think I squealed at an acute decibel. Salvatore thanked "Jesus, my mother and Barack Obama," which made us all laugh, then went on to give an impromptu and heartfelt speech. I was thrilled for him, and spent the rest of the evening so excited to be in the company of so many talented people striving to do interesting and ambitious work.

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