Here's a round up of photos from one of the most stunning nights of my life -- the ceremony awarding the Governor General's Literary Awards.
The ceremony was held at Rideau Hall -- the residence of the Canadian Head of State, the Governor General -- currently Julie Payette, an astronaut. It's an enormous stone mansion with beef eater guards and protocol officers in naval dress uniforms who walk you through the five important steps of getting such an award. In most years it's a ballgown and tux events; this year they changed the dress code to cocktail but I had already ordered a ballgown so I wore the heck out of that thing.
(Official picture that came later -- me and the head of state.)
The actual ceremony was held in the “tent room” -- an old tennis court that has been lined with pink and white fabric and hung with oil paintings of white guys in robes. It’s quite a thing to turn around and face this room: the fabric walls, the huge chandeliers, the crowd...
News broke at the crack of dawn this morning: my book, STAND ON THE SKY, has won a Governor General's award -- the oldest and highest profile award in Canada. This is a huge deal. I'm so excited -- I hardly know what to say.
So this morning the list of books nominated for the GG -- the Governor General's Award -- came out. I saw it in my e-mail, and really just scanned it briefly. I didn't see my name or my book cover, so I sighed and went to the basement to help clean up the sewage leak. (UGGGH don't ask.)
Then my Twitter notifications started rolling in.
And I'm up for it. STAND ON THE SKY has been nominated for a GG. And I'm on the actual air. I am standing on the sky. As writers we are not allowed to admit that we want these things, but I wanted this thing. A lot. For this book, which is truly the book of my heart.
The Governor General's awards are Canada's big national awards -- like the National Book Awards in the States. They're given in seven categories, including the one I'm up for, literature for young people. They are worth $25K, a big shiney seal, and of course ALL THE GLORY. Even being nominated is a huge, life-changing, caree...
Flying high after opening for, you know, ATWOOD last night, tonight I went to the star studded National Magazine Awards, where I sat next to -- gulp -- Michael Ondaatje. My poem from the New Quarterly, "Too Strong to Stop, Too Sweet to Lose," did not win, but it was a truly dazzling evening.
To narrow that down a little.... Last night was THE big night for kids' lit in Canada tomorrow: The TDs! Swanky party, $140K in prizes, and the chance to see what kids book people look like when all dressed up. I spent it the evening trying not to nibble off my nail polish, as THE SCORPION RULES was shortlisted in both the categories for which it was eligible: The Amy Mathers award for teen novels, and the Monica Hughes award for science fiction and fantasy.
And it WON, guys. It took the Monica Hughes -- which makes me the first two-time winner of the award. (It's five years old.) I'm so thrilled! I read the whole list this year and it was amazing. In fact, I went up to the stage with EK Johnston's speech in my pocket, because Kate -- a good friend -- was in Miami, touring with another book. I was more ready to give her speech than mine.
But I gave mine.
Huge congratulations to the other winners, including Susan Juby for teen fiction, Kevin...
Y'all -- THE SCORPION RULES is officially up for the Forest of Reading's White Pine Award. The Forest awards, run by the Ontario Library Association, are the grandmama of all of Canada's readers' choice awards, which means thousands of high school kids will read these books. (Any teachers finding me here? I live in Kitchener/Waterloo, and I absolutely do school visits all over SW Ontario. I'll go farther afield if we can work something out. Drop me a line.)
I'm honoured to be keeping company with rocking writers and friends E.K. Johnston (she has two titles up!) and Lena Coakley. And Tim Wynne-Jones is one of my writing heros. And you can bet I'll be running through this list alongside the teen readers. I already had Calvin on my pile.
It's a big day here in Canadian Children's Book Land: our shortlists are out. THE SCORPION RULES is up for not one but TWO prizes: The Amy Mathers Award for teen books, and the Monica Hughes Award for science fiction and fantasy.
In other words, the book is now up for both of the prizes its eligible for.
And Simon & Schuster Canada sent me author flowers!
The Monica Hughes jury says:
“Harrowing yet humourous, pulse-pounding yet passionate, Bow’s novel is an exhilarating mix of themes and tones, forever keeping the reader guessing… A fast-paced, tightly-packed, emotional read… Bow deftly propels the story toward a hopeful and poignant culmination… Searingly intelligent, note-perfect in tone and mood, and consistently provocative, The Scorpion Rules is powerful, deeply insightful science fiction.”
The Amy Mathers jury says:
“A dynamically imagined dystopian world, where children are the commodity and artificial intelligence is the highest power… Bow has crafted a novel that is original, c...
So my book and I had a good day yesterday! We're both in Ottawa, attending the the Canadian Library Association national conference -- specifically smoozing at the lunch where the CLA's Book of the Year winners are honoured. The CLA gives three book of the year awards, one for children's books (illustration)one for children's books (text) and this one, for Young Adultbooks.
I was thrilled to see The Scorpion Rules alongside Kenneth Oppel's The Nest. Have I told you guys about The Nest? Before this award I re-read it -- a third read, and yet I STILL ended up finishing it while standing in the middle of the hallway, because I was carrying it from room to room reading with my nose in it, and there's a point toward the end where it just stops you in your tracks. It is smart and scary and so so human. You really need to read it. I also got to meet Sydney Smith, who is the illustrator the wordless picture book with a story byJonArno Lawson. It was such a treat to get to walk alongside the il...
I'm very pleased to find The Scorpion Rules among the nominees for the Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award. This is one of the awards where school kids actually read and vote -- I adore those.
I was even more pleased when I saw the list of things nominated. I've read and loved several of the other books: R.J. Anderson's sweetly sinister a A Pocket Full of Murder, Kevin Sand's delightfully explosive The Blackthorne Key, Allan Stratton's pyscho-creepy The Dogs, and Susin Nielsen's utterly sad-delightful We Are All Made of Molecules -- it's an amazing list. (This is not to say I didn't like the others, simply that I haven't read them.)
I'm not sure when this award is given, but between now and then: Dear little town somewhere in northern Manitoba that never gets authors -- if you can find a way to get me there and a place to put me I will totally come.
I was extra busy at work. I have a dayjob at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, and today the Prime Minister of Canada was here to announce funding and talk up science and give the nation a quick lesson in the quantum computing.
(As one of Perimeter's science writers, I give quick lessons in quantum computing all the time, and I would like to say: JT is pretty darn good!)
Meanwhile, there was an auditorium full of 200 girls (including one of mine) hearing from women scientists on "Inspiring Future Women in Science," and I was trying to write a feature article about that on the fly.
Meanwhile meanwhile, (and this, children, is what's known as "burying the lede") the Canadian Library Association was tweeting. "Book of the Year for Young Adult Award: The Scorpion Rules! Congrats @erinbowbooks." This pushed a notification onto my laptop and made me say "oh my God!" aloud in an inappropriate setting.