Wednesday, June 30, 2010

ALA, part 2.5

So after my signing, I was whisked off to a luncheon Little, Brown was giving to the Newbery Comittee & me. This is another thing to file under "something really neat & cool that my publisher did for me," especially because it was at this beautiful restaurant set up with this lovely display:
with coordinating menus!
At the luncheon, the gracious Megan Tingley (publisher of LB) gave a warm speech to introduce my editor Alvina Ling, describing, amongst other things, how Alvina's passion convinced them to publish Where the Mountain Meets the Moon in full color.
Alvina, then gave a moving speech to introduce me--talking about our long and wonderful friendship.
(you can see I'm trying hard not to cry)

Then it was MY turn.
This was quite difficult for me, because I really wanted to express my extreme gratitude (and not be too long). I wrote everything down because I was so nervous. This is what I said:
Even though I’ve gotten used to speaking at schools, things like this make me intensely nervous. They told me it only had to be a few words, but I feel that there are no amount of words that I could say to express my profound gratitude.

First, I want to thank all the great people at LB—Alvina my dear friend & editor, Connie, Victoria, Zoe, Ames, Andrew, Megan--everyone. Also, I want to thank my brand-new husband of 4 months, Alex, for his moral support and also because Victoria warned me that if I didn't an Academy Award Actress-like curse might befall me.

But today, of course, most of my thanks is for you, the Newbery committee for the incredible honor you have given me.

As many of you already know,
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is my personal tribute to my late husband Robert. While the fantasy genre interested me, I only began to write it in earnest when he asked me to, so, while he was going through chemotherapy, I could read it to him and he could imagine himself elsewhere.

At the beginning of Robert’s illness, there were many times I thought we cursed with ill-fortune and I would wonder why our fate was so poor. But as he began to lose his fight for life, I realized how lucky and how truly fortunate I really was. And when Robert’s battle ended, his final gift to me was the soul of the book.

In Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, Minli is searching for the secret of happinesss. In the end, she realizes that happiness is not a prize that one wins. Happiness is a gift to be thankful for. I will never believe that I won the Newbery Honor. But I will always be thankful to all of you for gift of it.

I had to work really hard not to tear up while saying it.

But luckily, by then, it was time to eat!
all the food was really amazing--crepes, salmon and THIS cake! Raspberry & white chocolate! YUM


Then I signed some books-- first editions that Victoria had stored in some secret location!
(I don't even have a first edition anymore!)


It was a wonderful and emotional afternoon, but the whole time I felt like a fine lady because of my grandmother's green dress:
(Thanks, Grandma!)

11 comments:

Linda said...

I cried reading your speech.
You are one wonderful lady....and a great author.

Irene said...

I cried reading the speech, too! Congratulations, Grace!

Katy said...

What an honor to "hear" your speech. Good thing you got thru it without tears...I sure didn't! Congratulations again. So well deserved.

fibercontent said...

Love your speech and am so happy you had such a wonderful weekend at ALA. I was hoping to run into you on the fly, just to introduce myself and give my appreciation (rather than my review!).

I adore your grandmother's dress, too!

Robin Smith

cindy said...

what a beautiful and moving speech, grace. i think the green dress is lovely, too.

anne said...

tears tears tears . I should know better than to read these things at work, in public!
so moving, such wonderful thoughts. I'm sure Robert is honored, as well.

Alyce said...

Grace,
I believed you were special many years ago when your sat in my classroom. It is so wonderful to see the world recognize that!! I believe somewhere somehow Robert heard that speech and is so proud of WHO YOU are.
Congrats again.
Love,
Mrs. K
PS My grandchildren were sooo proud to give me the book you signed for me.

Allison said...

Wonderful speech, beautiful dress! How lovely.

Laura Resau said...

I loved reading all your Newbery posts! The green dress is fabulous! Your speech made me tear up, too... beautiful and touching. I'm so happy for you...and I can't wait to share the pictures with my 3-year-old son tomorrow-- he's one of your biggest fans (who happens to have an appreciation for pretty dresses!)

Joel said...

you are a ROCKSTAR to me!

Grace Lin said...

Thanks, everyone for your nice words. I really hope my small speech expressed how much gratitude I had for the award--it's such a dream come true!