27 Apr Sarton Literary Award
I had a grand four days in Austin, Texas.
First of all, Texas is not North Dakota. The trees were blooming and the outdoor pool called my name. I had three free hours before the conference welcome and I spent it getting in a great swim and obtaining a fairly substantial sunburn. I mean, I just didn’t think to bring sunscreen. Oh, well. Pink is a nice color, right?
(Susan – Me – Barbara – Tammy)
I met the other Sarton winners and finalists.
Barbara Stark-Nemon: Author of Even in Darkness and winner of the Historical Fiction Award. And roomie!
Susan Signe Morrison: Author of Grendel’s Mother and finalist in Historical Fiction.
Tammy Flanders Hetrick: Author of Stella Rose and finalist in Contemporary Fiction.
Susan Albert Witting, NYT best-selling author, and President of Story Circle Network, welcomed us to the conference. After supper, the awards were presented by Paula Yost and Barbara and I spoke for just a minute to say thank you.
Keynote speaker, Brooke Warner, gave an interesting talk on women and publication. As founder and Executive Editor of She Writes Press, Brooke was well informed as she spoke about the community of women writers, the need to champion each other, and the celebritization of the publishing industry. So many books being published by “famous” people who are getting big contracts, but really, might not be great writers. Sad commentary on our society. And thus a need for writers to write. And write well. And find our way by supporting each other.
I stayed up way too late talking with Barbara: we didn’t cover much. Just the history of Judaism, current Jewish Passover rituals, her fam., my fam., our next writing projects, and stuff like author promo work, publishing, presses, and She Writes Press. Fun stuff! And always amazing to learn from another author’s experiences.
(Tammy – Susan M. – Me – Barbara and moderator Susan W.)
Barbara, Susan, Tammy and I spoke on a panel the following day. Moderated by Susan Witting, the panel addressed the topic, “Crafting a Winner: Sarton Winners and Finalists Discuss Their Work.” We discussed our road to publication, our writing processes and problems, and our next projects. One of the panelists takes a week off work, once a year, and goes to a rental and writes. Then she spends the year rifting off of that week’s work. One woman writes “whenever.” We get the work done with a great deal of variety. It’s not how, or when, or where. It’s the fact that we write that makes us writers.
My favorite part of the conference was the lunch hour reading. Each finalist and winner read from her book. I love listening to women read their work. It solidifies the voice in the book and makes such a strong impression. I wanted to go out and buy every book! As I walked down from the podium, Brooke was holding two thumbs up and smiling. I love connecting!
(Photo credit to Jane Steig Parsons)
Next, I put my brand new gold shiny stickers on my book.
And sold out! It’s always such a question … how many books should I bring? Well, I stuffed my hand-luggage full. And it wasn’t enough. Happy Days!
(Photo Credit to Jane Steig Parsons)
We laughed ourselves silly over shared experiences. Cinda is an eleven time gold medalist in the World Police and Fire Games Biathlon! A woman who runs while shooting a pistol. That’s someone I’d like to be on the good side of!
That evening I had supper with Linda Joy Meyers, President of the National Association of Memoir Writers!
We had such a great conversation and she asked if I’d be on her NAMW Podcast later this year. YES! What an honor!
I stayed one extra day and spent it with Karen who graciously picked me up, took me to a local farm to table restaurant, and introduced me to friends of hers. The next day, we were up at 4:30 a.m. to brave the rain and get me to the airport.
The Austin Airport security lines took two and a half hours! My plane was scheduled to leave in one and a half. But I sauntered over to the gate to see if it might still be there, and yes it was! It had been delayed for an hour and a half due to weather. I hopped on board and had the bumpiest airplane ride I can ever remember. But made it back to Minneapolis in time to connect to Fargo.
I’m thankful to be home. I’m thankful for the award. And I’m blessed to have met so many writers and authors. Meeting other writers and connecting to their lives is invaluable.
I met Brooke Warner! (And she’s reading my book!) I met Linda Joy Meyers! (And will be on her podcast!) I met Barbara Stark Newman. (And we are friends now!) And Susan and Tammy! And I came home with a few too many books. So. Yup. Life is good. And writing friends are very, very special indeed.
AND I got a really nice award to set on my desk. A little bling to show off. And now? Now it’s back to work. I’ve got words to write and a story to tell.
Many thanks to the Story Circle Network and all the women who worked so hard to put this conference together.