We enjoyed the banquet, mostly because of the entertaining keynote speaker and the fact that we were able to catch up with friends who had a baby 8 weeks ago. It was very exciting for Mike to receive his award; however, after he received his, the rest of the awards presentation was a bit messed up.
Many of the award recipients do not attend the banquet, because many people enter from around the country. (In fact, the young woman who sat at our table won one of the scholarship awards, and attended with her mother--from Denver, CO--but they were both attending the conference as well.) In previous years, they have read the names of all the award winners. This year they decided to read only the names of the people who were attending the banquet. Unfortunately, creative minds are not always organized minds! It was a bit of a hash-up. Can you imagine how embarassing it would be to show up to an awards banquet and not have your name be read, and have to go up to the stage and say "excuse me, I won second place for poetry?" Aye, aye, aye. I told Mike that if I had been in charge of the awards, I would have been positively mortified at the way it went.
Here is Mike receiving his award (which was announced early, before everything went all wonky)--he is posing with Cynthia Whitcomb, the president of Willamette Writers and a screenwriter and playwright (she also decorated the wonderful Shakespeare Room we stayed in at the Sylvia Beach Hotel!):
And here he is after having received it:
Chelsea Cain was a highly engaging, entertaining keynote speaker who spoke entirely without notes. After writing a variety of articles and books, a few years ago she sold a three-book thriller series for millions of dollars. I read the first in the series a few months ago--it's highly graphic, but I enjoyed reading a story in a Portland setting.
After the banquet, we spent some time catching up with our friends Corey and Nandita, parents of an 8-week-old baby who we have not had the good fortune of meeting yet. Corey has been spending hours, days, and weeks preparing for the conference--he coordinated all of the agents visiting the conference and all of the consultations they had with aspiring writers. Quite an enormous (and thankless, I suspect!) job.
Now that the conference is over, we are looking forward to getting over there to meet baby Tarun!
I'm very proud of my award-winning writer, and hope this is the first of many awards in the years to come!