VESSEL Won the Mythopoeic Award!
My book, Vessel, just won the 2013 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children's Literature!!!!! Winners from prior years include Kristin Cashore, J.K. Rowling, Michael Chabon, Grace Lin, Franny Billingsley, Diana Wynne Jones, Jane Yolen, and Salman Rushdie. And now -- via what I can only imagine was some sort of clerical error -- me. This, my friends, is crazy-sauce!!! It goes without saying that I'm over-the-moon excited!
I was thrilled just to be nominated for this award alongside such wonderful authors -- Merrie Haskell, Christopher Healy, Sherwood Smith, Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado -- and am so grateful to the award committee for this honor.
And to top it all off, the award itself is a gorgeous statuette of Aslan (the lion from C.S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia). So. Ridiculously. Awesome. I've already picked out a place of honor for him on my writing desk.
The one pictured above is Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess's. Mine should be arriving in the mail sometime soon. I plan to stalk the mailman daily.....
The Mythopoeic Society announced the winners of this year's awards (there's an adult literature award and two scholarship awards in addition to the children's literature award) during an awards banquet on Sunday at Mythcon, held this year at Michigan State University.
Click here to read the press release.
Though I wasn't able to attend the awards banquet in person, I was given the opportunity to send in some acceptance remarks ahead of time. Here's what I said:
Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children's Literature
Sarah Beth Durst
When I was little, I never thought there were monsters in my closet. The monsters were all under the bed, along with the venomous snakes. The closet was for Narnia. I used to check it every single night, pushing aside all the clothes, digging through the shoes and stuffed animals, looking for a way to the woods with the lone lamppost. Winning this award makes me feel like I found the way into Narnia. I am so honored and so delighted, and I know my ten-year-old self would be too.
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was that ten-year-old girl. I believed—and still believe—that being a writer is the closest you can get in this world to being a wizard. You’re trying to cast a spell that lets you touch the minds and hearts of people you’ll never meet. You’re trying to transport people out of their lives and take them on a journey and then bring them safely back, maybe a little changed.
I love the journeys that you find in fantasy books. I love the way that fantasy is (or can be) a literature of hope and empowerment. When I close a fantasy book, I feel as though the world is a little more magical, a little more wonderful, and a little larger than it was before.
I write fantasy because, quite simply, it is what I love to read. After I received the news that VESSEL had been nominated for this award, I looked at the full list of nominees and winners of the Mythopoeic Award since its inception. It’s a list of every author that I’ve ever loved. I started crying when I realized my name would be on that list of wizards.
So I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to the Mythopoeic Society, to my fabulous agent Andrea Somberg who has believed in me from the beginning, to my wonderful editor Karen Wojtyla at McElderry and all the other fantastic people at Simon & Schuster who helped bring VESSEL into the world. And especially thanks to my family, my children who are my world, and my amazing husband Adam who made my dream his dream and who shares every step of every journey with me.
I wish I could go back in time and tell my ten-year-old self, "Keep looking in that closet for Narnia because, someday, you’ll find your Aslan. Or, more accurately, in the case of this beautiful award… he’ll find you."
Thank you so very, very much!