This weekend at Orycon, I was given the Endeavor Award for The Silver Ship and the Sea.Â I’ve been thinking about how to blog about it in a more meaningful way than just posting the press release or talking about how excited I am that the book was chosen when all of the other writers and books presented were so good (see the list at the bottom of this post – it is good company).
The best part of the whole award was that Steven Barnes was the one who presented it to me.Â Steve has been a mentor and friend for something closing in on twenty years now.Â He was one of the judges for the award – one of three people who reviewed the finalist books.Â Of course, I didn’t realize that I would be a finalist in the year that he was judging until the book made the finals list, which was by itself a happy surprise that neither Steve nor I had anything to do with.Â Since Steve is super honorable, I assumed that our friendship would work against me, and make the Silver Ship have to rise even further above a good, strong pack of contenders.Â Steve’s always been hard on me, as teachers should (and that’s literal – when I first met him he was my martial arts instructor).Â I’ll never know what went on in the judging and how that actually played out, but I suspect I shouldn’t know that.Â I trust the process, and Steve.
Getting the award from Steve’s hands was really special, kind of a like a simple but meaningful rite of passage.Â Steve teaches people how to find their own strengths, and over a decade ago he taught a series of classes called “lifewriting” that helped me find the courage to go do this thing I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid:Â write real books.Â It wasn’t a passing of the torch – Steve is still writing wonderful books and screenplays – but a step on the journey.
The finalists were:
“The Book of Joby,” by Mark J. Ferrari
“Bright of the Sky,” by Kay Kenyon
“Not Flesh Nor Feathers,” by Cherie Priest
“Powers,” by Ursula K. LeGuin.
Thirty seven books published in 2007 were entered for the Award.