This is what I think about literary awards: they come about from selfless acts and are created and run by generous people. They are vital to writers and the literary world because they keep writing important. Literary awards shine a big bright spotlight on novels and nonfiction and poetry and short fiction--they keep it all vital for authors and readers.
Can you tell I'm leading up to something?
I just received word SECRET KEEPERS received the Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction. A huge honor, an annual prize "for the best novel set in the South." The award includes $2,500, an expense-paid trip to New York City, and a luncheon at the Yacht Club.
I glanced at my email while I guzzled another glass of water and my knees went weak, and I sat down, trying to keep sweat drops off my laptop. After shock wore off, gratitude filled me, and that's one of the best feelings a human can have: gratitude.
Writing is a solitary business. And then you send your novels out in the world-- like they are children who must make their own way.
How gratifying to know Secret Keepers might qualify for this award that is, as the Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction explains, "chosen for the quality of its prose, originality, and authenticity of setting and characters." Or in the words of the writer Willie Morris, the spirit of the novel might bring "hope for belonging, for belief in a people's better nature, for steadfastness against all that is hollow or crass or rootless or destructive."
Thank you doesn't even begin to cover it.
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