Sunburst Award!

As some of you may have heard already, Seraphina has been awarded the 2013 YA Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic. A big thank-you to this year’s jury, and congratulations to Martine Desjardins, winner of the adult award, to all the runners-up, and to Lesley Livingston, who won the Sunburst Society’s Copper Cylinder Award. I got to meet Lesley this past weekend, and she is a fabulous human being.

In fact, I have an amusing tale to tell you. This past weekend I gave a reading at the Eden Mills Writer’s Festival — a wonderful festival in Ontario, and you should all GO if you ever have the chance! Anyway, I gave a reading in a picturesque, bucolic garden, and was now signing books at the signing tent. When my merry fans finally dissipated, I turned around to see two stern older gentlemen behind me.

“Rachel Hartman?” they said. “We’d just like to ask you a few questions.”

I followed them to the village hall, wondering what on earth they wanted to ask. Waiting for us in the hall were five or six other people. That’s when I started to worry. The difficulty with being a writer, you see, is that my brain immediately leapt to many ridiculous and false conclusions about what was going on. I had upset the Literary Mafia and would soon be swimming with the fishes in the millpond. I was being abducted by aliens or inducted into a secret society.

It took a few minutes to understand that, no, they were giving me an award. I’m told I handled myself with aplomb. I mostly just remember feeling tickled. And relieved.

Leon Rooke, Peter Halasz, and a peculiar woman with a fabulous medal. Photo by Peter Grimaldi

Leon Rooke, Peter Halasz, and a peculiar woman with a fabulous medal. Photo by Peter Grimaldi

The award, of course, wasn’t to be announced until the 18th, but since the jury members were there, and I was there, and they really wanted to see the look on my face, they’d decided to present the prize early. I was sworn to silence for a few days. Anyone who happened to see me later that afternoon, looking like I had a cramp in my face, that’s why. I was struggling not to grin. I have the kind of grin that inevitably inspires people to ask, “What’re YOU grinnin’ for, ya rascal?”

Peter then enlisted me to present Lesley Livingston with her Copper Cylinder Award. I tried to be as ominous as possible, but I almost certainly failed. I’m just not the ominous type. I feel certain I giggled. Anyway, it was awesome because then Leslie and I got to hang out, and that’s half the fun of these things, making new author friends. It’s like going to camp. We all weep and promise to write when it’s over, although sometimes “promise to write” means writing the next book. That’s fair.

I strongly encourage you all to check out past Sunburst winners as well as this year’s shortlists. There’s a lot of good speculative fiction coming out of Canada; I would have been honoured to lose to anyone on that list.


Happy Turkish book birthday!

If any of you read Turkish, you’re in luck! Seraphina is now in Turkish too.

I’ve been to Turkey, so this was an international sale I was particularly tickled about. Someday I can regale you with tales of how the Basilica Cistern gave me the massive heebie-jeebies, or how we got unbelievably lost and dehydrated in Izmir. Or how I ate olives wrapped in anchovies and was thirsty for the next three days, or how the music-store clerks scoffed at our super old-fashioned taste in baglama music.

Good times! Happy memories! My funniest stories make it sound like everything went wrong, but it was one of our most fun, memorable trips and I’d love to go back someday.