July 10, 2006

Prize

Last week I got an email saying that I had been nominated for the Grand Prize at the Hollywood Book Awards. I submitted North of Sunset several months ago and forgot about it. I couldn’t tell if the thing was legit. Just a short email three days before their awards ceremony inviting me to a restaurant in L.A. Went there on Saturday night. A swank restaurant, Tangier. Open bar, people walking around with platters of appetizers. Seemed like a real thing. I proceeded to drink many whiskies.

Pamela Des Barres read. Author of the groupie memoir I’m with the Band. She looked sullen and alienated at first, sitting alone, waiting to read. Either she didn’t like the gig or she was waiting to be fawned over. When she read, she was a total pro, lighting up, hitting lines she’s probably read a thousand times—about listening to the Doors first record with Jim Morrison.

Talked to some of the other writers. A Hawaiian writer with a children’s book about Santa Claus. A government encryptor with a book about dolphins. Then the organizer of the festival came up to me and told me that I’d won the $1000 Grand Prize. Holy shit, I’ve never won anything in my life—maybe a five dollar lottery ticket. I set down my fourth whiskey so I could still form sentences and went up to the stage to receive the award. Gave a short speech, read half a chapter, and received this:

Trophy

My wife and I came home and took a series of drunken pictures with the trophy. Yesterday, we took the prize money and went to the supermarket and bought things that I would never buy, like beverages and obscure frozen food, because, you know, I live in the fast lane. And I need a new printer. Also fast. Damn cool to get this award. Check out the Hollywood Book Festival site.

In other good book news, Poddy Mouth reviewed North of Sunset. She says: “The writing is stellar….I think you'll agree it is not so much who influenced the writing; it is who this writing will influence. Trust me when I say that this book is one you buy and one you keep.” Really happy with this review. She only reviews so many books and her site has gotten a lot of attention.

I’ve got to drop a nod to Cantara Christopher who told me about the festival. Buy her books. I think I can now feel like promoting the book has worked and I can get back to the new novel and other parts of my life.

13 comments:

Jenny D said...

Congratulations! It is all very well to think of past artists toiling in obscurity etc., but I have found that a little external validation is the best possible thing for moving forward to new projects, eh?

I've got the book, am looking forward to reading it but am in the thick of an intense work push so it may be a while...

Emil Michelle said...

Way to go, Henry! I love it, all the more so since you self-published it. The award is kinda' like thumbing your nose at the Big Publishing Houses, anyway, that's how I'd feel. I can hardly wait to review it.

Writing Blind said...

That is awesome, congratulations!

El Diablo De Verde said...

Next stop: The Booker. Good job, Henry! Kind of a nice belated birthday present, huh?

I was at Superman Returns when you guys rang and I missed the chance to congratulation you in real time.

Joseph K said...

Brilliant. Congrats, friend.

Natalia said...

Holy fuck! Congratulations! AND you got some free whiskey!

Awesome.

Future7111 said...

that's awesome , any thoughts on my writing?

Philofaxer said...

Wait a second. You're a writer?

Holy criminy. Congratulations! Maybe this is the impetus I need to read the copy of North of Sunset I purchased. (T-minus one month to babytown, and being away for 3 weeks for work are really cramping my style.)

Magazine Man said...

Holy shit! Congrats Henry. Best news I've heard in a while. And hey, an open bar at the awards, too. That's livin' baby!

Seriously, this was a righteous win and I can't think of anyone more deserving. Well done, you.

nat said...

that is fantastic - congrats!

Heather said...

Congratulations!!!

exley said...

Congratulations! This is well deserved. Now I'll have to order a copy of the book and add it to my ever growing pile of must reads.

Martha O'Connor said...

Just noticed you were one of her picks of the year! Congrats! :)

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