I received an invitation today to attend the 16th Annual Oklahoma Book Awards from the Oklahoma Center for the Book. Unfortunately, I'm too swamped to make it this year, but I just love this program. Two of my books have been finalists in the children's/YA division: Jingle Dancer (Morrow, 2000) and Rain Is Not My Indian Name (HarperCollins, 2001).
The award is set up to honor Okie authors and books with Okie settings. I wish there more programs of this kind to honor local authors, especially in the central and mountain time zones (who tend to be underrepresented on big publisher lists).
My pal Sharon Darrow's The Painters of Lexieville (Candlewick, 2003) won last year.
Sharon is also the author of a picture book biography: Through The Tempests Dark And Wild: A Story of Mary Shelley, creator of Frankenstein, illustrated by Angela Barrett (Candlewick, 2003) and Old Thunder And Miss Raney (DK Ink, 2000). See also Meet The Pros: Sharon Darrow from SCBWI France and Sharon's biography from SCBWI Illinois.
Sharon and I met back when I was living in Chicago's near South Loop, and we used to meet for lunches at a Thai restaurant a couple of blocks east of my loft apartment. I miss those lunches, but still enjoy seeing her whenever we can find one another in the book world. Places we've spoken together include the Oklahoma Red Dirt Book Festival.
Other Okie authors include Anna Myers and Molly Levite Griffis, both of whom are former OBA winners. Find out more about the 2004 winner and finalists. I'll keep you posted on 2005 news.
Articles by editor Stephen Roxburgh from Front Street include "Coming of Age: The Evolution of a YA Publisher;" "Trilobites, Palm Pilots, and Vampires: Publishing Children's Books in the 21rst Century;" and "Call Me Editor." Note: the "about us" section also mentions that: "half our authors are previously unpublished."
Carol Hurst's Children's Literature Newsletter Vol. 10, No. 1: features news, archive, a few FAQs, and Olive's Ocean by Kevin Henkes (Greenwillow, 2003)(review, "things to talk about and notice," activities, related books, related areas of the site, and a link to Kevin's site).
SCBWI Paris: Meet The Pros: an archive of numerous interviews with such luminaries as: Rosemary Brosnan (my Harper editor); editor David Fickling; SCBWI national president Stephen Mooser; editor Emma Dryden; editor Sarah Hughes; editor Susan Carnell; YA author Alex Sanchez; author and SCBWI-IL RA Esther Hershenhorn; author Bobbi Katz; Newbery author Joan Bauer; and editor Caitlyn Dlouhy.