Lyn Miller-Lachmann is no stranger to this blog. In fact, the last time she was here, we celebrated the release of two of her books, Torch (her young adult novel) and Film Makers: 15 Groundbreaking Women Directors (a nonfiction book coauthored by Tanisa “Tee” Moore). (Click here to see that post.)
Well, recently, Torch won the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Young Adult Fiction!
El Space: How did you find out your book was nominated and then won? Please share your experience.
Lyn: Apparently the notifications went out on a Friday afternoon, but I never received the phone call because it was from an unknown number and I don’t answer unknown numbers. I found out through an email the next day. However, my publisher [Lerner/Carolrhoda] found out on Friday afternoon, and they all celebrated, but they didn’t tell me either. I had to read the email a few times to realize what this was!
I was especially delighted when the official announcement came out a week and a half later, on February 22, because I found out about the other amazing books that made the Finalist list. Kip Wilson, author of The Most Dazzling Girl in Berlin, is an old friend, and she’d visited me the month before. I’ve long admired the books of Samira Ahmed, author of Hollow Fires, and in fact have an analytical essay on my blog about her earlier YA novel Internment that’s widely read in schools. Sabaa Tahir’s All My Rage had already deservedly won both the National Book Award and the ALA’s Printz Award, and Andrew Joseph White’s speculative novel Hell Followed With Us pushed me out of my reading comfort zone. I felt honored to be in the company of these outstanding books.
From left, Renee Roberson-Tecco (judge), Lyn, Kip Wilson (finalist), Samira Ahmed (finalist), and Sharon Levin (judge).
Basically, I was happy simply to be at the ceremony and planned to enjoy it no matter who won. No one knew who’d win ahead of time, so we all had to prepare an acceptance speech, and those who couldn’t attend the ceremony had to record one in advance. I had my list of thank-yous ready, and at the end listed the organizations and individuals fighting for the freedom to read and against the wave of book bans threatening this freedom. Torch explores the lives of young people who have lost this freedom and whose attempts to get it back put their lives and their entire families’ futures at risk. I am honored that Torch was selected as the winner, but I’m even happier that this award will draw attention to a book that explores the consequences if we lose the democracy and freedom that we once believed would always be there for us.
Congratulations again, Lyn!
By the way, Lori, you can celebrate your win of My Checkered Life: A Marriage Memoir by Marian Beaman!
A big thank you to all who commented.
LA Times Book Award image from the LA Times website. Finalists photo by Elise Saadet. Winner announcement photo by Walter Adamson. Other photo by L. Marie.