Andromeda/Your Turn: Acceptance speeches

She didn’t walk away with the top honor yesterday, but that matters not at all. We are amazed and proud of Debby Dahl Edwardson’s National Book Award nomination for My Name is Not Easy.

The winners were:
FICTION: Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones (Bloomsbury USA)

NONFICTION: Stephen Greenblatt, The Swerve: How the World Became Modern(W. W. Norton & Company)

POETRY: Nikky Finney, Head Off & Split (TriQuarterly, an imprint of Northwestern University Press)

YOUNG PEOPLE’S LITERATURE: Thanhha Lai, Inside Out & Back Again(Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers)

The NBA site promises an interview with Debby Dahl Edwardson, to come soon, so check back for that.

And in the meanwhile, a silly question for a cold, cold day: If you received that National Book Award, Pulitzer Prize, or Academy Award, who would you thank first? (One name only, not the Oscar-length list that makes the audience squirm.)

If your speech could draw attention to one issue or thought, what would it be: the fate of the book? The state of publishing, or education? Or would you tell us something more personal: why you became a writer in the first place? What that first small-town library meant to you as a kid? Go ahead, practice those short speeches here, if you’re brave. We’ll clap.

4 thoughts on “Andromeda/Your Turn: Acceptance speeches”

  1. I'd thank my mother for recognizing that I was a writer at the age of seven when I wrote my book of haiku. I still smile when I remember what a big deal she made of it.

    I'd thank both my parents for showing/not telling me that the dream of a person's life is valid, that it is up to the individual to craft their own special life, and that persistence is a necessary element of a life well lived.
    I'd encourage every would-be writer to write their stuff – because the world always needs stories.

  2. Debby Dahl Edwardson

    Thanks, Andromeda. It was an amazing experience. I was so honored to be sitting in the same room with John Ashbery as a finalist.

    The other finalists in the Young People's Literature category were wonderful and we had fun together at the press conference.

    I really enjoyed meeting Gary Schmidt. Thanhha Lai's book is based on her experience as a child immigrant, written in free verse meant to represent the feel of Vietnamese–quite an accomplishment.

    We all had our speeches written but I can guarantee that none of them would have matched that of poet Nikky Finney. John Lithgow called it "the best acceptance speech for anything that I've ever heard." Her reading was phenomenal as well.

    Melinda Moustakis was there and we had a good chat about writing from an Alaskan perspective.

    Now back to the real work.

  3. 49 Writers/49 Alaska Writing Center

    Great to hear your firsthand perspective, Debby. We're so proud of you and your work! Fun that you got to visit with Melinda as well.

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