We just got back from the quickest plane trip I've ever taken. Julie and I went to New York, care of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI-NYC Metro), so Julie and her book, GET WELL SOON, could be awarded this year's Ken Book Award (with four other authors and their books at this year's celebration). For anyone who hasn't read my previous bloggings about this award, it's given annually to books that have something unique to say or offer on topics of mental illness. Previous winners include memoirs by Jane Pauley and Rick Moody on their battles with Bipolar disorder and depression, respectively. Many winners are more on the scientific side of things. Julie's win was the first given to a young adult book, so it's extra special.
Got in Wednesday afternoon. Took a nap. Hit a Spanish restaurant, for dinner, to rub elbows with this year's winners and an assortment of NAMI officials. Patricia Cliff was there. She established the Ken Book Award and set up the Kenneth Johnson Memorial Research Library at NAMI-NYC on behalf of her late son who suffered from Bipolar disorder. And Jay Neugeboren was also there--who, on behalf of NAMI, called and told Julie she was one of this year's winners. Liz Noland, Julie's publicist at Feiwel and Friends also came out for good moral support.
Woke up early Thursday morning for the awards breakfast that started at 8am. Julie's top editor (and mine!), Liz Szabla, came as well as Liz Noland again. The two Lizzes (F+F is known for it's many Lizzes). A Nobel Prize winner, Eric Kandel, gave the key note speech and then the authors came up one by one to receive her/his award. Each award was introduced first by a previous winner. Julie's was presented by Elizabeth Swados who won one year previously for a picture book. Ms. Swados gave a very sweet, moving intro to Julie and GET WELL SOON. I then got misty-eyed. And Julie gave a cute and humble acceptance to that room full of big brains. It was really great. So proud.
After the ceremony wrapped, we packed our stuff, boarded a plane, and jetted back home. Exhausted. I feel for people who have to fly constantly for business. It tears you down, man.
A few pics to document the trip:
Patricia Cliff, first thing in the morning.
Elizabeth Swados saying great things about my wifey! Swados has great hair, man!
Julie in mid-speech. Rocked it.
Left to right: The lovely Liz Szabla, the lovely Julie Halpern, the lovely Liz Noland.