Two weeks ago I learned that I had won the Emerging Writer Fellowship from The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, MD. I’m very pleased about the fellowship, which involves both an honorarium and an appearance at a special event at The Writer’s Center. Having been a student there in the late ’90s (before and after I started working at the World Bank), this is a great honor, and I’m grateful to The Writer’s Center.
And this weekend I learned that I had won the Emerging Author Award at the Indiana Authors Award Ceremony in Indianapolis. This one is big, especially because I was also a finalist for the award last year. The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation, with the support of the Glick Fund, give several awards each year. This year, Mari Evans was honored with a lifetime achievement award, Marianne Boruch won the National Author award, Adrian Matejka won the Regional Author Award, and I won the Emerging Author Award. (The other finalists for that award were Laura Bates and Skila Brown.)
After spending the day giving interviews and signing books, we all convened at the awards dinner, which is a fundraiser for the Foundation. Members of my family were there as well as some people I met at the same event last year. Press 53, publisher of both of my books, had purchased a table at the event. Although the National and Regional winners had been announced in advance, they use the Emerging Author Award for suspense. Introductory remarks were given, dinner was served, and then the speeches began. Evans was recognized, then both Matejka and Boruch accepted their awards. Finally it was time the Emerging Authors.
We had each recorded short readings, so those were played. Our bios were read. And then the winner was announced. I won! Our table was right in the center, so I made my way to the stage to receive my trophy.
In accepting the award, one of the things I said was that I was a little embarrassed at my age to be recognized as an emerging writer, but that it was an acknowledgment that it’s never too late to pursue your dreams. I spoke for a couple of minutes, but it flew by–I was so thrilled!