Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Newburyport Literary Festival

A few weeks ago I was a guest author at the Newburyport Literary Festival up along the coast of Massachusetts. It's a beautiful old brick town on a river, just south of some popular surfing spots in New Hampshire. I drove up to one of them early that Saturday morning with my board in the back of the car, hoping to paddle out, only to arrive at the beach and realize I'd forgotten my wetsuit. Whoops.

The festival, now in its seventh year, was great fun. A whole bunch of smart, attentive kids came to listen to me talk about writing, reading, and FISH at Newburyport's beautiful public library; I'm amazed they sat through it on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.

The kids definitely appeared to be budding writers - they asked incredibly sharp questions - and the adults were fun too. I especially enjoyed the grandmother kept questioning me, doubting that I really make a living as a writer.

The festival was also a nice chance to meet some other writers, including the great Rodman Philbrick, author of Freak the Mighty. I'd never read the book, but I whipped through it after hearing him speak, and it's one of the best I've read in a while. The narrative voice is incredible, and there's so much happening behind the words.

Listening to Elisha Cooper discuss his books and art was also a real pleasure. I'm looking forward to reading a few of his works to my kids.

There were numerous adult authors in attendance as well, but honestly, who wants to listen to grown-ups? I'll take sixty-year-old kids any day.

The Festival happens every April, I believe, and it's free. If you're in New England, check it out next year.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Boston Authors Club Awards

Last week I learned that FISH has been selected as a "highly recommended" book by the Boston Authors Club, and that it has been nominated for a 2012 Rhode Island Children's Book Award as well. As far as I can recall, the last award I won was either the co-MVP of the Plandome Country Club Swim Team (a long time ago) or the Shelter Rock Elementary School Spelling Bee Champion (an even longer time ago), so this was pretty big news.

Generally, it made me think that we should all have more awards in life. In the office, at home....everyone deserves an award now and then. Some other awards I deserve:

-Most Forgetful (Some might see this as a negative; I would consider it an honor.)

-Best Morning Coffee Maker (Probably one of the more important roles in any house. Coffee, and how quickly it acts on the brain after wake up call , affects everyone, from parents down to infants.)

-Most Likely to Wake Up Early (This is more of a weakness than a strength, but I want an award anyway.)

-Best Random Storyteller (You need an adventure that features Michael Jackson, Cinderella and mermaids? Give me ten seconds....)

-Worst Tap Dancer (This should still be an award, even though it's a "worst," because bad dancers are incredibly valuable. They make everyone else feel better about themselves.)